Last November, Francisco Felix of Laveen, Ariz., was given another chance at life. After the sudden death of a friend, the deceased's liver was donated to Felix, 32, whose liver has been ruined by hepatitis C.
"I was speechless. I couldn't believe it. I had an opportunity to live," says Felix. So he and his wife, Flor, went to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, where further evaluation showed he was stable enough to endure the transplant surgery. But within hours the procedure was canceled.
That's because the state legislature had voted in March for budget cuts to deny organ transplants to about 100 people who had already been approved for them, including Felix. The cutbacks, which took effect Oct. 1, affect patients covered by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state's Medicaid agency, who are seeking heart, liver, pancreas, bone marrow (from an unrelated donor) or lung transplants.