Safford social worker given transplant coverage, maybe too late

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Watching powerlessly as a loved one withers away is a horrible experience for any family. And it's the story for the family of Safford social worker Josie Ramirez.

Thursday she caught a break, receiving insurance coverage through the state. But it may be too late.

The day at UMC started so promising, ACCCHS finally approved the funds Josie Ramirez needs for a liver transplant.

"My emotions are up and down.  You hear good news one minute and then comes that bad news with it," said Josie's daughter Rebecca Duarte.

Inside UMC, Josie continues clinging to life.

If the approval had come Wednesday, things would be different. The difference between life and death is only $700.

Now that Josie's husband lost his job, she qualifies for a liver transplant. But Thursday Josie's brain was swelling and her doctors think she's too weak to survive.

"If my mom was in my shoes and I was up there, she would be disgusted," said Duarte.

Disgusted, says Rebecca, because Josie, a 42-year-old social worker, gave everything she had for others. And when she needed help, it wasn't there.

"I just believe our system has failed us," said Duarte.

Josie's twin sister Gloria says the last few days inside the hospital have been trying.

"As her twin sister that's a part of me that's going on up there it hurts a lot to see her and I can't fix it," said Gloria Michele.

It's a waiting game now.

For some last minute good news, doctors say despite the brain swelling, she's been added to the transplant list.