Press releases

December 15, 2017 12:00 PM ET

Last night just before 10pm, Delilah Saunders—accompanied by her younger brother Garrett—was transported from the Ottawa Hospital (General campus) to the University Health Network in Toronto. The medical team at the UHN began her assessment in the early morning hours.

Delilah, who was suffering from abdominal pain, was admitted to the Ottawa Hospital last Saturday, December 9. She went into acute liver failure a day later. Family members were informed on Tuesday morning that Delilah required a liver transplant, but that due to their “6 months clean” policy, the transplant centre in Toronto deemed her ineligible. After regrouping, family members and friends decided to mobilize their resources against the policy in order to have Delilah admitted as a patient at one of the two provincial transplant centres.

Along with the Selkirk Liver Society, Delilah’s family and friends are committed to changing the discriminatory transplant policy for people with liver failure caused by alcohol use disorder. We especially believe that in an ongoing context of colonialism in Canada, in which Indigenous peoples continue to suffer from the intergenerational impacts of historical trauma, this policy disproportionately impacts Indigenous people. Dr. Amy Bombay (Psychiatry, Dalhousie University) has published extensively on intergenerational trauma among the descendants of residential school survivors. Delilah is herself a direct descendant of a number of residential school survivors, and we firmly believe that this policy discriminates against Indigenous people.

Delilah’s family and friends thank the medical team at the Ottawa General, under whose care Delilah’s condition improved; she nonetheless remains in critical condition. Her mother Miriam says, “We’re excited that Dee was transferred to Toronto. We hope that she gets the medical care that any other person suffering from liver failure would get. She deserves nothing less.”

The advocacy team working to support Delilah is calling on all supporters, including the thousands of people who have signed our petition; those attending vigils in Ottawa, Toronto, St-John’s, Goose Bay, and Montréal; and the dozens of people who have offered support to her family in Toronto, to continue to challenge the discriminatory policy and to keep Delilah in your thoughts and prayers.

For more information on updates and how you can help visit

Media contact:
Ossie Michelin 

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