A 47-year-old El Cajon man, who was told by Medi-Cal he could only receive the heart transplant surgery he needed at Stanford University Hospital at Palo Alto, had the operation Thursday at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego. The cost is being paid through private donations.
Charles York was listed in critical but stable condition, and will remain in intensive care for at least one week, hospital spokesman Ed Crawford said. He added that there were no complications during the four-hour operation.
A plea to Medi-Cal that York be allowed to have the surgery in San Diego was made by Assemblyman Larry Stirling (R-San Diego) after York solicited his help. Crawford said the plea was denied because of Medi-Cal's policy regarding heart transplants. In order for Medi-Cal to cover the costs of a heart transplant operation, the surgery must be done at a hospital where at least 12 previous transplants have been performed, with a 70% success rate a year later. York's was the 11th heart transplant to be performed at Sharp.