Here's the scenario, as reported by the Associated Press: "During the early hours of a steamy July 2003 morning, Martin Memorial Medical Center chartered a private plane and sent 37-year-old Luis Jimenez back to the Central American country without telling his relatives in the U.S. or Guatemala — even as his cousin and legal guardian, Montejo Gaspar, frantically sought to stop the move."
Jimenez was seriously brain injured in an automobile accident in 2000. He spent more than a year in a "vegetative state", and eventually improved to where he had the cognitive ability of a fourth grader.
The question now is one of, "What's a hospital to do with a patient who requires , is unable to pay and doesn't qualify for federal or state aid because of his immigration status?".
My point of view is, as always, perhaps overly simplistic:
1. As an illegal immigrant in our country, he should NOT have access to benefits or services for which he cannot pay... except medical treatment for life threatening injury or illness.
2. The hospital had fulfilled their responsibility at the point which Jimenez was no longer in danger of dying as a result of his injuries. Any services provided beyond that point were strictly humanitarian in nature.
3. The hospital, which spent more than $1.5 million on his care over just three years, says Jimenez wanted to go home. If their claim is true, then their act was one of "repatriation," not deportation. Deportation is a legal process of the government, not the administrative process of a hospital releasing a patient. And yes, it probably was financially beneficial to the hospital to assist their patient in fulfilling his desire to return to his home country, but their moral and legal obligations to him had been satisfied for years. People do get homesick, and hospitals are a business... in this case it was a win-win situation.
4. A hospital is not a hotel. A hospital is a facility which provides immediate care for the sick and injured. The only procedures a hospital should have to provide on a pro bono basis are life saving and stabilization procedures if a patient doesn't have the means to pay... BUT, that should apply to ALL patients, not just illegal aliens.
5. The availability and quality of care Jimenez can receive in his own country should not even be considered. It is whatever it is, but it is where he belongs... what it is NOT, is it is not our problem.
I realize how easily my opinion could be interpreted as "racist", but it has absolutely nothing to do with his race... it has to do with his immigration status. People whose first act upon stepping onto American soil is criminal, deserve NO free benefits or services for having violated our immigration laws and procedures! If Jimenez was a white man named Lablanc, in the USA illegally from Canada, I would feel exactly the same way.
My attitude about illegal immigration could be completely wrong, but I tend to see things mostly in high contrast, with very few shades of gray. An act is generally either right or wrong.