THE BRONX - An 11-year-old boy needs a kidney transplant and has a donor lined up, but doctors will not operate because they say the child's home is not suitable for post-surgery rehabilitation.
Michael Espada has had a failing kidney his entire life, and he says it is hard for him to deal with his situation as a kid. He takes a daily dose of oversized pills to regulate his salt levels, potassium levels and blood pressure, and he says he is scared for the future, although he tries to man up.
Michael's father, George, says that it is hard for him to see his son in pain, but now he can finally help his son. He is a perfect match to donate his kidney.
Michael has to wait though, because the nurses at Columbia Presbyterian hospital, where he will have the surgery, visited Michael's home to evaluate it in preparation for the transplant. George says there are rodents, water bugs, mold and stairs in the home, and as a result, the hospital says the home is not suitable for post-surgery recovery. George Espada says he tried to reach his building's landlord to fix the problems, but that a recent change in management made it impossible. He says that until the infestations are resolved, Michael's surgery is on hold.
The chief of pediatric nephrology at Montefiore Children's hospital, Dr. Kirk Kaskel, explains that doctors might be concerned because after surgery, patients are put on immunosuppressants. This puts patients' immune systems to sleep and makes them susceptible to infection.
However, the longer doctors wait to operate, the more likely Michael will have to go on dialysis. Kaskel says that dialysis can affect a person's growth and development, and that it is not a cure since it is only temporary.
Michael's case worker at Columbia Presbyterian wrote to the borough president asking for his help correcting the family's living environment or helping the family relocate. Today, the spokesperson for the property owner promised to look into the problems and said the company would not allow their tenants to live under these conditions.
George Espada says that he is hoping and praying for the situation to get resolved soon, because Michael does not have a lot of time left.