Family Fights to Keep Comatose Man in US

Minn. hospital is preparing to deport him to Pakistan, family wants him to stay

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 12, 2014 1:15 PM CST

(Newser) – A 20-year-old exchange student from Pakistan is an unwitting participant in a deportation fight between his family and a hospital in Minnesota, reports the AP. Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa has been in a coma since suffering head injuries in a November car accident, and his student visa expires on Feb. 28. Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth is making arrangements to fly him back to Pakistan at that point, but his family is pushing to keep him in the US.

“His best chance of recovery or survival is here," his brother Shahraiz Bajwa tells WDIO. "They are telling me to take my brother from the best health care system to a third-world country health care system." Shahzaib Bajwa can open his eyes and breathe on his own, but doctors say it could take years for any meaningful progress—and even that's no guarantee. The hospital bill is currently about $350,000, and his exchange-program insurance is capped at $100,000. "It's a really, really sad situation," says the family attorney.

A file photo of Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa before his accident.
A file photo of Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa before his accident.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Shahraiz Bajwa, Maryam Kamal)
This 2014 photo provided by Shahraiz Bajwa taken at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minn. shows Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa.
This 2014 photo provided by Shahraiz Bajwa taken at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minn. shows Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Shahraiz Bajwa)
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