Your story about Delilah Saunders being denied access to a liver transplant gives a shocking picture of callous injustice (“Indigenous rights activist Delilah Saunders denied liver transplant,” Dec. 13).
I have been moved and inspired by this remarkable young Inuit activist from Labrador ever since October 2016, when she and her fellow hunger strikers managed to get the powers that be to blink (though only briefly) on the Muskrat Falls flooding. Then she ended up in an Ottawa hospital in critical condition, and the Ontario agency that co-ordinates organ transplants refuses to help.
The Trillium Gift of Life Network’s “six-month sobriety policy” poses an immediate and punitive threat to the life of this 26-year-old indigenous woman. Even though Saunders is already in the process towards addiction recovery, the agency’s rigid policy excludes her from access to the treatment she needs.
Do we deny lung cancer treatment to anyone who has smoked in the past six months? An inflexible knee-jerk policy automatically denying eligibility amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for people in acute distress, and it is also clearly discriminatory. The only decent option is for the agency to make an immediate exception for Delilah Saunders, and to reform its policy for other such cases.
I look forward to The Telegram’s further coverage of this matter, highlighting both Delilah Saunders’ poignant and inspiring story, and the injustice of a rigid protocol that may condemn her to death.
Ompah, Ont. and Pouch Cove, N.L.