News coverage

A friendly profile of delilah's advocacy work and activism

Canada Faces Its Shadow: First Nations Seek Healing At The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry Hearings In Membertou N.S.

Delilah Saunders is my hero. Somewhere in the time of protest that was fall 2016, gutted by Muskrat Falls, methyl mercury, environmental racism, and the destruction of another wild place, I realized that Delilah, on hunger strike with artist Billy Gauthier to protest Nalcor’s mega-project, was the sister of 2014 homicide victim Loretta Saunders. (The Overcast)

December 18, 2017

Indigenous activist with liver disease improves but family hopes for wider policy change

Garrett Saunders said in an interview from the transplant centre at the University Health Network in Toronto that his older sister, Delilah Saunders, showed further signs of improvement over the weekend and on Monday. The 22-year-old said the family from Labrador is pleased with the 26-year-old woman’s progress and is increasingly hopeful she won’t require a liver transplant, though that is not yet definitely the case. (Toronto Star)

Saunders’ Family Seeks Help From Transplant Activist

Debra Selkirk’s advocacy work has influenced a three-year pilot project that will temporarily lift the ban next August. Her husband Mark was diagnosed with acute liver failure caused by alcohol use disorder in 2010. His transplant was refused, and he died 17 days later. Selkirk says she’s learned a lot since then. (VOCM)

L'état de Delilah Saunders s'améliore, mais la greffe de foie n'est pas exclue

L'état de la militante inuite [sic] bien connue Delilah Saunders s'est légèrement amélioré, selon son avocate Caryma S'ad, qui a précisé dimanche que sa cliente attend les résultats d'examens qui détermineront si elle a toujours besoin d'une greffe de foie. (Radio-Canada)

Family of woman denied liver transplant watching to see if condition improves

Her lawyer says the 26-year-old woman’s condition improved slightly yesterday and her family was awaiting further test results to find out if she will recover or still needs a liver transplant. (Global News)

December 17, 2017

Desmond Cole on Delilah Saunders, with Ossie Michelin (Starts at 1:13)

(Newstalk 1010 - Podcast)

Delilah Saunders stronger, but 'not out of the woods' yet

[Saunders’ lawyer Caryma Sa’d] said Saunders’ MELD (model for end stage liver disease) score, which measures mortality risk and can help prioritize patients for organ allocation, remains very high. Based on that, she said it seems unlikely her liver will spontaneously repair itself.  If this remains the case, a liver transplant would be the only option to save Saunders’ life. (Ottawa Citizen)

Inuk woman rejected for liver transplant shows signs of recovery, lawyer says

[Delilah Saunders' lawyer] Caryma S'ad says the search for a matching private donor has been held up by an earlier decision deeming Saunders ineligible for an Ontario waiting list because she had not abstained from alcohol for a minimum of six months. [...] S'ad says several potential donors have offered to help Saunders with full awareness of her history of alcohol use, making the "arbitrary" policy even less applicable. (Globe and Mail)

December 16, 2017

Ossie Michelin talks about Delilah on APTN National News

(APTN National News - Video)

Growing Call To End ‘Discriminatory’ Transplant Policy

The number of voices calling on Ontario’s Department of Health to relent on its liver transplant policy continues to grow. Amnesty International has joined the call, and a small rally took place outside Confederation Building yesterday in support of Delilah Saunders – a young Inuk woman who was initially denied a liver transplant because of what some consider to be a discriminatory sobriety benchmark. (VOCM)

Ottawa vigil calls for Delilah Saunders to be put on liver transplant list

Friday night's vigil included close friends, family and strangers who knew about Saunders' work as an advocate for Indigenous land rights in Labrador and her voice at the Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Her cousin, performing artist Ma Myriah Peace, spoke to the crowd. "I am here with my heart broken open, holding on to positive prayers for Delilah. She's made such a difference nationwide, coast-to-coast-to-coast," Peace said. "She's so strong and so beautiful. We've got you, Delilah!" (CBC News)

December 15, 2017

The Current: Delilah Saunders needs a life-saving liver transplant. Ontario rules say she's ineligible

In Saunders's case, [Arthur Schafer, founding director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba] notes that her Indigenous background is an important factor. "The most disadvantaged people get doubly disadvantaged because we deny them life-saving transplants because we judge them to be not likely to succeed." He believes the six-month rule "should be scrapped and the one question we should ask is can this patient benefit or can this patient benefit if we provide adequate supports for them. If the answer is yes, they should not be excluded." (CBC Radio)

Amnesty International joins call for Delilah Saunders to be put on liver transplant list

"We are deeply concerned that the decision to deny Delilah access to a liver transplant is on the basis of a policy which is discriminatory and inconsistent with Canada's international human rights obligations," Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, said in a news release Friday. (CBC News)

Family of Delilah Saunders continues to fight for liver transplant

The battle to get a well-known Indigenous rights activist a liver transplant continues. Delilah Saunders was flown to Toronto General Hospital on Thursday night to see a liver specialist. Saunders’ family says she’s suffering acute liver failure, and could die without a transplant. “We know she isn’t going to get better. They told me her liver has failed, she needs a liver,” says Delilah’s mother Miriam Saunders. (CTV News Atlantic)

Denying Delilah Saunders a liver transplant violates international law: Amnesty International

As a young Indigenous advocate was being assessed by medical experts in Toronto on Friday, Amnesty International stepped forward to publicly condemn an initial decision to deny her a potentially life-saving liver transplant. (Ottawa Citizen)

Denying Delilah Saunders a liver transplant violates worldwide law Newburgh Gazette

As a young Indigenous advocate was being assessed by medical experts in Toronto on Friday, Amnesty International stepped forward to publicly condemn an initial decision to deny her a potentially life-saving liver transplant. (Newburgh Gazette)

Delilah Saunders' Gets Her Liver Assessed After Campaign To Put Her On Transplant List

Garrett Saunders said his sister's condition seems to be improving, and he said doctors told him they are assessing whether her liver is showing signs of recovery. "Basically ... they are going to do a couple of tests to see where she's at and see how necessary it would be for a liver transplant and see if she's eligible," said the 22-year-old younger brother, who was with her at the hospital. Garrett Saunders said doctors have told him "the liver is not significantly better, but it's seeing improvement." (Huffington Post Canada)

Indigenous woman’s liver assessed in Toronto after outcry over earlier transplant refusal

A young Inuk woman suffering from acute liver failure is being assessed at an organ transplant centre in Toronto after her family from Labrador launched a campaign to overturn earlier refusals to put her on a transplant waiting list. (Toronto Star)

People rally in support of Delilah Saunders getting a new liver

A group gathered outside the office of the Trillium Gift of Life Network Friday in support of Delilah Saunders receiving a liver transplant that she will die without. “We just want to show Delilah and her family that we care and that we are going to put as much pressure as we can on the people who can affect the decisions that are affecting her life,” said supporter Audra Mitchell. (APTN National News)

Indigenous advocate seeking liver transplant airlifted to Toronto for assessment

Earlier, her family was told Saunders, who is in critical condition with acute liver failure, did not qualify for a transplant because of her use of alcohol during the past six months. But Thursday evening, the family got word from Toronto General Hospital that it wanted to see her for an assessment. Saunders’ aunt Barbara Coffey said she was sent by air ambulance to Toronto on Thursday evening. “We don’t know what the outcome will be, it is for an assessment.” (Ottawa Citizen)

december 14, 2017

AS It Happens - Miriam Saunders speaks about her daughther, Delilah

(CBC Radio - Podcast)

Ontario refuses to give liver transplant for MMIWG advocate Delilah Saunders

Delilah Saunders, a young Inuk woman from Labrador who has also been an advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is in a fight for her own life in Ottawa. Family and friends say Saunders, 26, whose sister was Loretta Saunders, a university student who was murdered, is in need of a liver transplant. What the doctors are saying is that she’s very sick and that she’s needing an intervention that they’re not willing or at least from an organizational policy level, they’re not willing to give her,” said friend Kelly Morrissey. (APTN National News)

Critically ill Indigenous rights activist to be assessed by liver specialist in Toronto

Delilah Saunders is currently in a Ottawa hospital slipping in and out of consciousness suffering acute liver failure. Her family says it was caused by taking medication for a tooth ache. The doctors have told them she needs a liver transplant, but isn't eligible. “They’re even refusing me to give a part of my liver to save my baby,” says Miriam Saunders, Delilah’s mother. (CTV Atlantic)

THE National - Dying woman denied transplant due to alcohol use

A dying Labrador woman is being denied a liver transplant and those close to her say it's because of recent alcohol use. Delilah Saunders is an Indigenous activist; her sister was murdered in 2014, and those close to Saunders say the trauma she suffered is why she turned to alcohol. (CBC News)

'Don't let her die': Indigenous advocate denied liver transplant, family blames six-month abstinence rule

Saunders, who received Amnesty International’s ambassador of conscience award this year for work on missing and murdered Aboriginal women, went to the General campus of The Ottawa Hospital on Friday with severe abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with acute liver failure, likely brought on by taking too much acetaminophen for wisdom tooth pain, according to her family. (Ottawa Citizen)

Supporters Appeal for Liver Transplant for Indigenous Activist

The 26-year-old, who has been featured in Teen Vogue and recognized by Amnesty International, was one of the hunger strikers in the Muskrat Falls protests. Her family says exceptions have been made in the past, and should in this case. A petition to that effect is circulating online. The petition says Delilah will die in the coming days without a liver transplant. (VOCM)

Une politique empêche une femme de la Nouvelle-Écosse d'obtenir la greffe de foie qui pourrait sauver sa vie

Delilah Saunders, une femme inuite dont la famille est originaire du Labrador, a récemment complété une tournée des écoles ontariennes, où elle a partagé avec des étudiants son expérience comme femme autochtone et discuté de sa participation à l’Enquête nationale sur les femmes et les filles autochtones disparues et assassinées. (Radio-Canada)

December 13, 2017

Indigenous activist denied liver transplant

Delilah Saunders, one of Canada’s leading advocates for Indigenous rights, is in hospital in Ottawa with acute liver failure. Saunders, who recently received Amnesty International’s human rights award for her advocacy work, went to the hospital last Friday because she was not feeling well. Soon after being admitted, it was discovered that she had acute liver failure caused by acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity in conjunction with past alcohol consumption. (The Telegram)

Sister of Loretta Saunders needs liver transplant but deemed ineligible: family

Delilah Saunders became a vocal advocate for Indigenous women after her sister Loretta Saunders was killed in 2014 by a couple she sublet her Halifax apartment. (CTV News)

(Note: Delilah is Inuit, not Innu.)

Delilah Saunders Denied A Liver Transplant, Her Friends Say

An Inuk woman is being denied the liver transplant she needs because of a "discriminatory" policy, her friends say. [...] Saunders has acute liver failure, he said, triggered by a buildup of acetaminophen (Tylenol) she was taking for jaw pain. Her past struggle with alcohol abuse means she can't be put on the waitlist for a liver transplant, Michelin said. (Huffington Post Canada)

Woman in critical condition from liver failure can't get transplant due to protocols

Delilah Saunders was admitted to an Ottawa hospital Friday afternoon and was diagnosed with acute liver failure. She is in critical condition. She had been taking acetaminophen for jaw pain, friends say, which may have led to liver failure."The doctor said she needs a liver transplant," says her best friend Rebecca Moore, who travelled from Nova Scotia to be with her. 

"Then they said she can't have one." (CBC News)

General coverage of the discriminatory "6-month sober" liver transplant policy

Ontario pilot program will lift six-months-sober rule for liver transplant patients

While she’s pleased with that approach, Selkirk said research shows that most alcoholic liver disease patients do well on their own after a transplant, and very few return to drinking. She has previously cited a 2008 research paper that found only about six per cent of former alcoholics and four per cent of former illicit drug users relapse following an organ transplant. Other studies have reached similar conclusions and a paper published in 2006 described the “rigid” six-month-sober rule as “ethically problematic.” (CTV News)