EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - East Texas Medical Center made an announcement this week that they would be suspending their kidney transplant program, leaving patients on the transplant list worried they'll be forgotten about.
Edward Saturley tries to hold back tears as he faces a scary realization.
"Financially, I don't know if I'll be able to afford it. I'm pretty sure I can't, not on my own," kidney failure patient Edward Saturley says.
Saturley was diagnosed with stage 4 chronic kidney failure 3 years ago, and has been on dialysis ever since; he was later put on a transplant list.
"And now that it is time, we can't get the transplant because the hospital has closed the program," Saturley says.
Saturley says he's more concerned about what happens to his daughter than to himself.
"She sacrificed so much to get me a kidney, she lost a lot of weight, 60, 70 pounds or more. I don't even know how much," Saturley says.
We tried reaching out to ETMC about Saturley's case, but their public information officer Rebecca Berkley says they are not able to comment on specific patients.
East Texas Medical Center says they are suspending the program because of regulations and restrictions. They say increasing regulations make it difficult for smaller transplant programs to remain in operation.
"There are over 70,000 people in this country that are on the transplant list or dialyzing, maybe not on the transplant list, that have this disease," Saturley says.
ETMC says their patients are there number one priority and hope to transfer all patients on the list to different programs around the country; Saturley says he can't afford to travel long distances.
"I'll put it in God's hands and let him take care of it," Saturley says.
ETMC officials say they are in the process of transitioning to a new medical system, affiliated with the UT Health System.
They are hoping this transition could allow for a new East Texas kidney transplant program.