Pictured above: Drs. Carmen Mendez (Program Director/Supervisor). Sindalana Hean, and Ali Fakhreddine
Nominee: Sindalana Hean, MD, Resident Physician
Nominated by: Ali Fakhreddine, MD
Supervisor of Nominee: Carmen Mendez, MD
Institution: Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA
Dr. Hean was caring for a patient admitted to her service with newly diagnosed acute hepatitis B. The patient was an undocumented, uninsured immigrant from Mexico with no other medical history. Over the course of a 20-day hospitalization, the patient’s INR progressively worsened with the development of hepatorenal syndrome and acute confusion consistent with acute liver failure. Referrals to tertiary care transplant centers were denied on the basis of the patient’s immigration and insurance status. Dr. Hean aggressively pursued options with social work for expediting this patient’s insurance status. She uncovered a process available through PRUCOL (Permanent Residence Under Color of Law) that allowed the patient to be eligible for, and receive, full-scope Medi-Cal within one week of petition on hospital day 24, with transfer to Cedars-Sinai that same day. The patient underwent orthotopic liver transplant 12 days after transfer. He was discharged 17 days later on hemodialysis and was doing well on follow-up. Dr. Hean demonstrated outstanding commitment to patient care by navigating a challenging financial system that at times seems insurmountable, and did so in a critical time period in order to save a young man from an otherwise certain, premature demise.
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