Woman's kidney transplant surgery delayed due to COVID-19 surge

Laura Walker, 35, of Temecula, always knew her kidneys were compromised, but it wasn’t until the end of 2019 that this mother of two and wife of a Marine ended up in the hospital, diagnosed with kidney disease.

"That's when they told me my kidneys were no longer working and I needed to do dialysis," says Walker.

Walker’s lifeline, beyond her daily dialysis, is her younger sister who just happens to be her kidney match. Everything was falling into place perfectly. Then, when the coronavirus surge hit in November, Walker was told her transplant surgery at Scripps Organ and Cell Transplantation in La Jolla would be delayed indefinitely because it’s an elective surgery.

"Of course I was in shock! I felt like I was ready to go and then just to be told we’re going to have to wait was hard," says Walker.

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

Scripps Health says it considers a living organ donation as "non-emergent." 

In a statement to FOX 11, the hospital says, as COVID cases continue to rise, "we are currently performing organ transplant surgeries for emergent patients, meaning those who require it immediately [including deceased organ donation]."

While walker waits for a surgery date, she holds on to positivity, remembering she’s one step ahead of thousands still searching for a donor.

"I know a lot of people are waiting for this exact thing," says Walker.

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