A 20-year-old Mexican man in need of a new heart and liver was just a week-and-a-half away from what could have been a life-saving appointment at the Mayo Clinic, when the U.S. denied his visa Tuesday.
It's the second time Jose Chúa Lopez has faced this setback, according to the Associated Press, and he said that as a result his "world has fallen down."
Lopez's GoFundMe page says he has had heart problems since birth. So far he's had four open heart surgeries and needs a heart-liver transplant.
My current diagnosis is single ventricle that means I have only half of the heart, that's why I need a heart transplant, and given the damage to my heart is damaging other organs as it did with the liver, the diagnosis of liver is hepatic cirrhosis, which is why I need this double transplant before my health deteriorates and injures more organs.
The double-transplant is not available in Mexico, the AP reports.
On his Facebook page on Tuesday, Feb. 13, Lopez posted that he was "crying with happiness" about the Mayo appointment and thanked God. Translated, he said that "without God's help, nothing is possible."
However, Wednesday, March 25, he posted that he met with the American consulate, and the visa was refused without explanation. Later that day, he posted that everything happens for a reason and thanked U.S. news media organizations for picking up the story.
The U.S. State Department is declining to comment to news organizations regarding the case, citing privacy concerns.
Lopez initially applied for a tourist visa, but his family needs to reapply for a humanitarian permit, which is granted to those who cannot get into the U.S. or have an "emergency situation," according to U.S. Citizen Immigration Services.
Permits are granted in the case of an "urgent" situation or one that has a public benefit, but it is rare to obtain the permit, according to UCSIS.
A specific permit for medical reasons is available as long as the applicant provides documents from their doctor, explanation of why this treatment cannot be received at home and estimated costs for both the treatment and return trip.
The AP notes his father lives in Arizona, and Lopez had a U.S. visa until he was 15.
El Imparcial reports the Consejio de Latinos Unidos organization in Alabama is helping advocate for Lopez and his mother with the permit application, which would hopefully go through in a few days.
The organization's director Kevin Forbes called the situation "an absolute abomination," according to the Guardian.