Randall — a Los Angeles barber who can no longer work because of kidney disease, receives dialysis treatments three times a week and has been waiting more than five years for a kidney — also wants a federal court to allow him to represent a class of 27,500 Black U.S. patients, who he argues have been similarly disadvantaged.
“The above-described racial discrimination damaged plaintiff and members of the nationwide wait list class, the California wait list class, and the Cedars-Sinai class by depriving and/or delaying their award of a donor kidney,” Randall’s suit contends. All have suffered “economic injuries,” including dialysis and other medical costs, it claims.
Both UNOS and Cedars-Sinai have in recent months dropped the use of the part of the formula Randall cites in his lawsuit.In June, the board of directors of the transplant system determined that inclusion of a “modifier for patients identified as Black … has led to a systemic underestimation of kidney disease severity for many Black patients. Specifically in organ transplantation, it may have negatively affected the timing of transplant listing, or the date at which candidates qualify to begin waiting time for a transplant.”
In January, UNOS instructed hospitals to stop using that part of the algorithm and to notify Black patients waiting for kidneys that they might be eligible for adjustments of their “accrued wait time” — a critical factor in determining the order of potential recipients for kidneys, which are in short supply. Randall says he might have qualified for a kidney had those adjustments been made sooner.
According to Randall’s lawsuit, Cedars complied with UNOS’s directive on March 27, when it said it would begin a review that could take several months. Randall asserts that neither the hospital nor the transplantorganization is moving quickly enough.
As of Wednesday, when the lawsuit was filed, Randall’s “wait time continues to be incorrectly calculated in UNOS’s UNet software, prejudicing plaintiff’s candidacy for a donor kidney from the national kidney wait list,” the suit contends.
A UNOS spokeswoman said the organization would address the matter in court. “As this is an active lawsuit, we are unable to provide further details at this time,” Anne Paschke wrote in an email.
In a statement, Cedars-Sinai said it could not discuss individual patients, but “as an organization founded on principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, Cedars-Sinai continues to be committed to the health and well-being of everyone under our care.”