A medical marijuana patient in Los Angeles has been removed from the kidney transplant list at the famed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Toni Trujillo is the second patient in the last year to be removed from the hospital’s transplant lists due to their medical marijuana use. Toni has had kidney problems for most of her life and has been on dialysis for the last five years. She has been using medical marijuana to try and stimulate her appetite. She said that since she has been using marijuana as a medicine, something she has been doing for the last two years, that her protein levels have increased.
Toni’s medical marijuana use is not something she has hidden from her doctors. She reports that she has never had any push back from the hospital about her medical marijuana use, so she was shocked to find out that she had been delisted from the transplant list for “substance abuse”. Toni Trujillo had been waiting on the transplant list for the last six years.
She said in a statement yesterday, “I don’t know why Cedars would deny me a transplant simply because I use a legal medication that works for me. I hope they listen to reason and change their misguided policy, if not for me then at least for the others who will certainly follow.” Fellow patient Norman B Smith was denied a liver transplant for his inoperable liver cancer late last year. He had been using medical marijuana to mitigate the symptoms of chemotherapy. He has made the way all the way up to only a two month window for a transplant. Smith has been recently told he has about 90 days to live unless he receives a transplant. Bad news for Smith, both patients must take drug counseling and test negative for marijuana for six months to re-qualify for the waiting list.
This is life or death, both patients report they are going to comply and get back on the list, but they will be added to the bottom of the transplant list after being there for six years previously. The average wait time for California kidney patients is almost eight years. Joe Elford of the ASA said that denying necessary transplants to medical marijuana patients is the worst kind of discrimination and that Cedars-Sinai would not be breaking any laws, federal or otherwise, by granting Toni Trujillo a kidney transplant, and it’s certainly the ethical thing to do.