Many Hospitals Deport Injured, Ill Immigrants

Guatemalan man at center of benchmark case
By Michael Foreman,  Newser User
Posted Aug 3, 2008 10:59 AM CDT
Sick immigrants are often flown back to their home countries by air ambulance.    ((c) chispita_666)
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(Newser) – The case of an illegal immigrant from Guatemala has called attention to a little-known, but common, practice at US hospitals: the deportation of immigrants without insurance. Injured in a car accident, the immigrant spent years at a Florida hospital before being repatriated by court order, the New York Times reports. An appeals court overruled the decision, stating that deportation falls under the federal government's purview.

But the man, who suffered brain damage, remains in Guatemala, with only his mother to care for him. Medicaid won't cover long-term care for certain immigrants, forcing hospitals to bear the expense of treatment. Immigration advocates say the practice is unethical and dangerous. “Repatriation is pretty much a death sentence in some of these cases,” said one doctor.