‘The goal here is to save a life’: MSNBC anchor explains why telling one news story is so important
MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell (screengrab)

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell emotionally reported on a story of life and death on Friday's edition of "The Last Word."


"And we begin tonight where we left off last night with the clock ticking on the death sentence that the Trump Administration has we hope unwittingly imposed on Maria Isabel Bueso," O'Donnell explained. "This is the most important story we discussed last night and it is the most important story we will discuss tonight because a life hangs in the balance. All because of an immigration policy change made by the Trump Administration which has decided to refuse to grant any extensions of permission to stay in the United States for medical treatment."

"The goal here is to inform you of the news of what your government is doing but possibly even more importantly in this particular instance the goal here is to save a life," he explained.

"Maria Isabel Bueso was 7 years old when she came to the United States from Guatemala at the invitation of doctors who were conducting a clinical trial for the treatment of her rare, disfiguring genetic disease. The trial was short on participants, and thanks to her enrollment, it eventually led the Food and Drug Administration to approve a medication for the condition that has increased survival by more than a decade," The New York Times reported.

"Now 24, Ms. Bueso, who had been told she likely would not live past adolescence, has participated in several medical studies. She has won awards for her advocacy on behalf of people with rare diseases, appearing before lawmakers in Washington and in Sacramento. Over the years, her parents have paid for the treatment that keeps her alive with private medical insurance," the newspaper noted. "But last week, Ms. Bueso received a letter from the United States government that told her she would face deportation if she did not leave the country within 33 days, an order described by her doctor, lawyer and mother as tantamount to a 'death sentence.'”

O'Donnell made a personal plea to those close to Trump.

"I think it’s fair to assume no one in the Trump Administration who participated in this change of policy decision has ever heard of the disease that Isabel struggles with, I certainly have never heard of it. They could not have known that they were sentencing Isabel personally to death with that letter, but after this week's news coverage of the story, many of them do know now," he continued. "We have to try to make sure they all know in the hope that somewhere we will find a sympathetic ear connected to an open heart, someone who can begin to turn this decision around in the days that are left before she’s scheduled to be deported to her death."

"The politics of governing is far more complex than the politics of campaigning. And the politics of campaigning you are just trying to beat the other side and in the politics of governing you are trying to persuade the other side," he explained. "And in your own lives, you all know that the tone and vocabulary you adopt for persuasion is very different from the tone you bring to open argument."

"Our coverage of this story will be based on the hope that someone will persuade the Trump Administration that Isabel should be rewarded for what she’s done in this country, rewarded for medical research, lives she has improved and lengthened because of her participation in medical research. We hope that someone will persuade the Trump Administration to reward Maria Isabel Bueso with her life," O'Donnell said.

Watch Part I:

Watch Part II: