According to NBC News, Mexican singer Vicente Fernández, often dubbed the “king of ranchera music,” implied in a recent interview that he rejected a liver transplant out of fear that the donor was a “homosexual or an addict.”
“They wanted to give me some other man’s liver, and I told them ‘I’m not going to sleep next to my wife with another man’s liver,’” said Fernández, 79, earlier this month. “I don’t even know if he was homosexual or an addict.”
Doctors found a cancerous lump in Fernández’s liver seven years ago. He recalled leaving the hospital after he refused the liver transplant, which doctors urged he accept.
“They didn’t want to let me leave, but I got dressed and started leaving,” Fernández said. “They said ‘Please, Mr. Vicente, at least leave in the wheelchair. If anything happens to you, they’ll shut down the hospital,’ so I left in the wheelchair.”
A well-respected figure in Mexico’s culture, Fernández has recorded more than 50 albums and made contributions to more than 30 films. But his recent remarks have drawn criticism from health care professionals.
“Liver transplants are done when there are no other options,” said medical director of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s liver transplant program Dr.Steven L. Flamm. “Without a transplant, the rate of dying is greater than 75 percent within the first year or two, so it’s not something that should be easily dismissed.”
“I don’t know what being gay has to do with it,” Flamm continued. “A healthy liver is a healthy liver, and sexuality cannot be transferred along with a liver.”