December 21, 2010

Gillibrand Helps Reunite Colombian Senior With Long Island Family To Assist With Care Of Ailing Infant

Long Island 4-Month-Old Boy Suffers from Heart Condition, Awaits New Heart for Life-Saving Transplant

Farmingville, NY – After a Long Island family struggled to balance work, child care and the care of their 4-month-old boy stricken by heart disease, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP helped secure a visitor visa for 57-year-old grandmother, Gloria Sanchez De Osorno. The senior’s arrival to Farmingville means that the father can continue to financially provide for his family while the mother cares for their sick baby who awaits a life-saving heart transplant.

“On behalf of my family, we are very thankful to our attorneys at Cravath and Senator Gillibrand for their effort and perseverance through many obstacles to help us bring Gloria to the U.S.,” said Jose Ovidio Dominguez, 47.  “There will be difficult times ahead and having Gloria here is the most beautiful gift we can have.”

“I am happy to hear that Gloria is now reunited with the Dominguez family and can give them the support they desperately need during this difficult time,” said Senator Gillibrand.  “I hope that the heart transplant comes soon for Andrew and wish him a safe, swift recovery.”

“We are very proud of the pro bono legal assistance that Cravath provides to families in need through our Children's Hospital Program and are pleased to have been able to reunite the Dominguez family,” said Cravath partner Karin A. DeMasi.  “We are especially grateful to Senator Gillibrand and her office for their help in achieving this meaningful result for Andrew and his family.”

Mr. Dominguez’ son, four-month-old Andrew, suffers from dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease that weakened his heart and killed his infant sister several years ago. Andrew’s fragile condition requires his mother to be with him 24 hours a day at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. According to doctors, the wait for a heart transplant ranges between six and ten weeks.  

A full-time truck driver and sole provider for his family, Mr. Dominguez helped his mother-in-law, Gloria Sanchez De Osorno, apply for a visitor visa in hopes that she can come and help take care of his two other children – one-year-old infant Matthew and 17-year-old Maria Angelica. Her visa application was denied last month. With no one else able to look after his children at home, Mr. Dominguez faced the prospect of quitting his job, which would lead to the loss of his health insurance for his family, including health care for his son Andrew.

The Farmingville residents’ case was referred to Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP through the Firm's Children's Hospital Program, a collaboration between Cravath and Volunteers of Legal Services (VOLS). Through its Hospital Program, Cravath provides free representation to Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and Montefiore Children's Hospital patients and their families in an effort to address legal needs that impact the children's medical care.  Over the past decade, Cravath’s Hospital Program has helped more than one hundred families in New York City.  

Upon learning that Ms. Sanchez De Osorno’s petition had been denied, Cravath re-filed the necessary documentation with the U.S. Consulate in Bogota, Colombia. Senator Gillibrand requested that the U.S. Consulate grant an expedited consular appointment and full and fair consideration of the urgent circumstances.

Mrs. Sanchez De Osorno’s visa was issued earlier this month and she is now in Farmingville.