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Suit Would Be Shameful in Transplant Tragedy

March 09, 2003

Re "Teen Who Underwent Botched Heart-Lung Transplant Dies" (Feb. 23):

Though it is certainly tragic that Jesica Santillan died as a result of a mismatched transplant, I hardly think that the family is in any position to hire an ambulance-chasing malpractice attorney to possibly sue Duke University. First of all, the family members are in this country illegally, having saved their money to pay a smuggler to sneak them across the border instead of saving for surgery and applying legally to come into this country.

Secondly, the Santillan family paid nothing for this opportunity for lifesaving surgery. It looks to me like the family has hopes of hitting the lottery. It is time to stop taking care of the rest of the world and begin taking care of ourselves.

How many citizens has Jesica's benefactor Mack Mahoney worked to help? Yet he is first to cry murder when well-intentioned doctors make a mistake. Shame on Mahoney, and shame on the Santillan family if they sue Duke for trying to save their daughter when no such technology nor expertise exists in their country.

Skip Houston

Laguna Beach

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