CHICAGO, IL – An ongoing campaign to protest discriminatory policies that deny care to patients who are uninsured and undocumented is escalating after the death of one of its members, Sarai Rodriguez.
Today, Monday, August 12 at 2:00 P.M., protesters will hold a press conference and actionÂ Fighting for Life – Luchando por la Vida, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 215 E Huron. For more information, call 872-203-4310; or Oscar Balbuena: 773-715-0857.
Planners of the protest allege that on August 5, in response to growing public pressure, Northwestern Memorial Hospital issued a press statement claiming that “The primary focus of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s transplant program is to save lives and restore health wherever possible”. However, in May, Sarai Rodriguez was denied a chance to be evaluated for the transplant waitlist even though she desperately needed a transplant. The hospital delayed giving her an appointment for evaluation for many months. Sarai died on Friday evening, still waiting to be seen by a physician.Â
Protesters marched in a seven mile funeral procession carrying caskets, after which they spent the night in front of the hospital. Protesters want to hold Northwestern Memorial Hospital accountable for the death of people from marginalized communities across Chicago. “Sarai’s death is our proof that this hospital kills the poor, the undocumented and the uninsured with false promises, lies and bureaucracy,” stated Father Jose Landaverde. “In her death, Sarai has called us to keep the struggle alive.”
“We do not want a private meeting with a hospital representative who will give us more lies, more PR talk,” stated Oscar Balbuena, one of the people recently on hunger strike on behalf of his mother who needs a transplant. “They denied Sarai her humanity and her life, but she is with us today demanding to be heard.”
Protesters will attempt to enter the hospital with a casket bearing the name of Sarai Rodriguez.