The Cruel Odds Stacked Against JaMarcus Crews

JaMarcus Crews knew that diabetes could kill him so he did everything possible to get on a transplant list—shedding pounds, following his case worker’s instructions—only to be misdirected and repeatedly rebuffed.

He also knew his diabetes put him at higher risk for COVID-19 so he did everything he could to protect himself.

But he couldn’t live without dialysis, even though that meant leaving home 3X a week to sit in a crowded room with other patients—some who, he suspected, later died of the coronavirus.

A letter that Crews was finally approved for a transplant arrived in the mail in September—weeks after he died of COVID-19 on July 31.

Lizzie Presser’s heartbreaking account details the odds stacked against Black Americans, who are 3X-4X likelier than white Americans to have kidney failure and less likely to get a transplant—while corporations that profit from keeping patients on their machines act as the gatekeepers to getting a transplant.

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