Strike leads to cancellation of man's kidney transplant - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Strike leads to cancellation of man's kidney transplant

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The nurses will only strike for a single day, but that day turns out to be very important for at least one patient. (Source: KGTV/CNN) The nurses will only strike for a single day, but that day turns out to be very important for at least one patient. (Source: KGTV/CNN)

SAN DIEGO (KGTV/CNN) - A nurses' union has decided to strike for a single day, but that day turns out to be very important for at least one patient.

A dialysis machine has kept Homer Rivera alive for a year. "The machine costs about as much as a car. … I can't make it all the way to the kitchen," he said.

He needs it at least nine hours a day because his kidney was failing, and now the man's kidney transplant has been cancelled because of the strike.

"They informed me that they would be canceling my surgery due to the nurses' strike that was going to happen on Nov. 20," Rivera said.

Unionized patient care workers with the University of California San Diego decided to strike for fair wages for one day, the day Rivera's surgery was scheduled.

"I was infuriated. I was upset," he said. "All this planning has gone into this, and all of a sudden, my day gets canceled."

The father of three has been on the waiting list for seven years. Rivera found a donor in Tennessee and had to raise funds because his insurance wouldn't cover an out-of-state donor. Those flights and hotels will all have to be canceled.

"(I'm) e-mailing as many people as I could," Rivera said. "There's got to be a better way to resolve this than a strike."

The union responded: "With respect to transplants at UCSD, we do not schedule surgeries. However, the transplant teams that we represent are on call both the day before and the day after our strike," saying if the surgeon can reschedule, so can they, but Rivera says the surgeon can't.

The union goes on to say, "We deeply regret any inconvenience that UC's continuing refusal to take safety seriously is causing for our patients."

"It's going to be... It already is a nightmare, right now," Rivera said.

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