KUNM

Too Little Too Late

New Mexico has the country's highest rate of liver disease and liver disease deaths. But if you need a liver transplant, you have a long road ahead of you. This series looks at what challenges residents face when they need a new liver. 

Saving Your Liver

Aug 1, 2019


When folks in New Mexico need a liver transplant, it marks the start of a long, difficult journey. You have to fight the odds just to qualify for one. You also have to be willing and able to afford going out of state for the surgery. All the while, the federal rules make it less likely that you’ll ever get one.

 

So what can be done so folks here don’t need a liver transplant in the first place? 

May Ortega | KUNM


When a liver is available for donation anywhere in the country, there are federal rules that dictate who gets it. The sicker you are, the sooner you get one. 

 

Those rules were updated this year and they’re supposed to help more folks get that life-saving transplant. But the new rules might not make things better for everyone.

May Ortega | KUNM


We’ve been exploring the difficulties New Mexicans face when they need a liver transplant, like the fact that we don’t have a place to get one in the entire state. 

 

That means it can be challenging just to get on a liver transplant waitlist. 

May Ortega | KUNM


If you live in New Mexico and you need a liver transplant, you better pack your bags because you can’t get that surgery anywhere in the state.