If anyone wonders about the veracity of current immigration policy being partially responsible for the gap in health and health care access between Latinos and other groups of people, one needs only to read the recent NYT article that tells of how U.S. hospitals are dumping and deporting undocumented immigrants in critical need of care.
The reason, undocumented immigrants lack health insurance and the hospitals are other critical care centers (i.e. rehab centers and nursing homes) don’t want to have to pay the bill. In a country where health care is more about big business than about caring for the sick, hospitals are leasing planes to “take care” of their patients.
Eight years ago, Mr. Jiménez, 35, an illegal immigrant working as a gardener in Stuart, Fla., suffered devastating injuries in a car crash with a drunken Floridian. A community hospital saved his life, twice, and, after failing to find a rehabilitation center willing to accept an uninsured patient, kept him as a ward for years at a cost of $1.5 million.
What happened next set the stage for a continuing legal battle with nationwide repercussions: Mr. Jiménez was deported — not by the federal government but by the hospital, Martin Memorial. After winning a state court order that would later be declared invalid, Martin Memorial leased an air ambulance for $30,000 and “forcibly returned him to his home country,” as one hospital administrator described it.
Since being hoisted in his wheelchair up a steep slope to his remote home, Mr. Jiménez, who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, has received no medical care or medication — just Alka-Seltzer and prayer, his 72-year-old mother said. Over the last year, his condition has deteriorated with routine violent seizures, each characterized by a fall, protracted convulsions, a loud gurgling, the vomiting of blood and, finally, a collapse into unconsciousness.
What is disturbing is that no one is tracking these deportations so there is no oversight and no sense of how many seriously ill people, humans, not aliens, are being shipped out of sight to die.
Thankfully (she said sarcastically) there are now entire businesses to help get rid of ill, unwanted bodies.