FL Hospital Sued for Secrectly Deporting Patient





Mrs.Rubber2Burn

The Diet Coke of Evil!!!
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****DISCLAIMER****

I DO NOT POST THIS ARTICLE IN ORDER TO START A DEBATE REGARDING UNINSURED NON-AMERICANS IN OUR COUNTRY (NO MATTER WHAT MY OPINION MAY BE). I work in the healtcare industry and am insterested in everyone's opinion on how this particular case is affecting any current or future cases along with utilization/case management/and discharge planning that can be put in to place in order for the hospital to not have to "write off" or just "eat" these costs; thereby passing the costs of their services to other uninsured patients that they can send to collection agencies and such.

Hospital defends secretly deporting patient - Health care- msnbc.com

STUART, Fla. - All sides agree on one thing in the case of a South Florida hospital that secretly repatriated a seriously brain injured patient back to Guatemala.

During the early hours of a steamy July 2003 morning, Martin Memorial Medical Center chartered a private plane and sent 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.

There, things get murky. Gaspar is suing the hospital for essentially deporting Jimenez, who was an illegal immigrant. The hospital, which spent more than $1.5 million on his care over three years, says Jimenez wanted to go home.
Underlying the dispute is the broader question of what Americans expect a hospital to do with a patient who requires long-term care, is unable to pay and doesn’t qualify for federal or state aid because of his immigration status. Health care and immigration experts across the country are watching the case, which could set precedent in Florida and possibly beyond. Lawyers for Jimenez said this appears to be the first time a lawsuit has been filed in such a case.

The case went to the jury for deliberations Thursday afternoon.

Before sending them to the jury room, Senior Judge James Midelis told jurors that an appeals court ruling has already established that Jimenez was “unlawfully detained and deprived of libertyâ€￾ by the hospital and that the hospital had acted against the will of his legal guardian. Midelis told jurors their task would be to decide if the hospital’s actions were “unreasonable and unwarrantedâ€￾ under the circumstances.

In closing arguments earlier Thursday, a lawyer for Gaspar and Jimenez said the hospital wanted to send Jimenez back to Guatemala to halt what would have been a long and expensive appeals process.

“The plan was designed once and for all to stop the meter from running, to stop the expenses ... to stop the case from going all the way up to the Supreme Court — because Luis Jimenez was gone,â€￾ attorney Jack Hill told a packed courtroom in the sleepy South Florida town of Stuart, just north of the exclusive community of Palm Beach.

Who decides on deportation?
Scott Michaud, the lawyer for the hospital, countered that Martin Memorial was in an impossible situation, but ultimately a judge — not the hospital — decided that it was acceptable to send Jimenez back to Guatemala. Michaud said the hospital saved Jimenez’s life and provided free care for him for three years, only to be unfairly hit with a lawsuit.

“Paging Alice in Wonderland where up is down and down is up and no good deed goes unpunished,â€￾ he exclaimed Thursday.

The case also raises the question of whether a hospital and a state court should be deciding whether to deport someone — a power long held by the federal government.

“Regardless of the decision, it will heighten the awareness of hospitals nationwide. The next time they debate shipping a patient overseas, they’re going to have to do their homework because it’s going to leave them open to a lot of legal challenges and questions,â€￾ said Steve Larson, an assistant dean at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine and medical director of a nonprofit clinic for Latino immigrants.

But Linda Quick, president of the South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Association, says hospitals may become even more wary about providing extended care to uninsured immigrants.

Hospitals are already struggling under the staggering costs of treating the nation’s roughly 47 million uninsured. Illegal immigrants make up an estimated 15 percent of this group, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

“I think they’ll do what’s required according to physician orders,â€￾ she said, “but I think they will be more pro-active and aggressive in finding a discharge plan.â€￾

Tragic accident
Like millions of others, Jimenez, now 37, came the U.S to work as a day laborer, sending money home to his wife and small children. In 2000, a drunk driver crashed into a van he was riding in, leaving the robust soccer player a paraplegic. For more than a year he lingered in a vegetative state before he began to recuperate, eventually reaching a fourth grade level in cognitive ability. The hospital sent him to a long-term care facility for a brief stint, but eventually he was returned to the hospital for care.

Because Jimenez has diminished capacity to make decisions, Gaspar was named as his legal guardian. Initially he supported Jimenez’s return to Guatemala, but after a court-appointed attorney for Jimenez questioned whether any hospital there could take him, Gaspar grew concerned.

Then, armed with a vague letter from the Guatemalan minister of health stating the poverty-ridden country could care for Jimenez, the hospital got a county judge to OK the move.

While Gaspar sought an emergency order to stop the move so he could appeal the decision, the hospital put Jimenez on a $30,000 charter flight home.

Gaspar eventually won his appeal, with the court ruling a state judge doesn’t have the power to decide immigration cases. By then, it was too late. Jimenez had been released from the Guatemalan hospital and was living with his 73-year-old mother in a one-room home in the mountainous state of Huehuetenango — a steep hike from the village center and 12 hours from the Guatemalan capital.

Jimenez’s lawsuit seeks nearly $1 million to cover the estimated lifetime costs of his care in Guatemala, as well as damages for the hospital’s alleged “false imprisonmentâ€￾ of his cousin.

A South Florida Roman Catholic priest described a visit to Jimenez in an e-mail to The Associated Press: “He was clean, glad of the visit and occasionally made apparently good sense comments,â€￾ wrote the Rev. Frank O’Laughlin. “It seemed that he was cooperating with his caregiver and would survive, I guessed, until his first pneumonia.â€￾

O’Laughlin said he wasn’t sure that Jimenez should be returned to “medical care in an alien Florida institution.â€￾

But he said the lawsuit is important because hospitals should not be allowed to deport people.

He and Larson also say a country that relies on cheap immigrant labor for everything from agriculture, to clothing to construction, should factor in the cost of catastrophic injuries to those providing these essential services — whether it means requiring employers to offer coverage for day laborers or ensuring public and nonprofit hospitals can care for them.

Carla Luggiero, a senior associate director for American Hospital Association, said that cases such as Jimenez’s are rare. Most of the time, hospitals are able to work with the families to find acceptable care.

And most of the time families don’t have pro bono lawyers working for them as Jimenez does.

But she also warned the issue is serious, and it is one Congress has yet to address in its health care reform proposals.

“There is absolutely no discussion about it,â€￾ Luggiero said. And yet, hospitals that receive Medicare reimbursements are required to provide emergency care to all patients and must provide an acceptable discharge plan once the patient is stabilized.

“It’s a complicated, huge issue. Without repatriation, the issue of undocumented immigrants is already a hand grenade and so is health care,â€￾ Larson said. “So together, you’re really walking a tightrope.â€￾
 

Dino

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Wow that is a lot to digest. I don't have an answer but it really highlights the need for health care reform so these decisions do not have to be considered.
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Mrs.Rubber2Burn

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It is a very difficult situation because both sides have valid arguments when it comes to the actual laws on the books. It will be a case to set future precedents, so it is being folowed carefully.
 
#4
i just cant believe that entire story. the issues are very dicy dealing with both illegal immigrants and health care. when considering these issues they should be seperated. i believe we need insurance reform, not health care reform. health care is expensive here BUT it is the best. technology grows leaps and bounds daily, some of the stuff done everyday is mind blowing
 

chrisjp

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the human in me says what right did they have...but at what point do they HAVE to take care of him when chairty public outreach something other then just looking at this 1 hospital and saying "too bad too sad you have to take him and pay for it all *mennecing laugh inserted here* there were choices here...and it seems the family only looked at one...the free ride.. there were options. instead of looking the other way at the "free gift" the hospital gave in takeing care for him for 3 years free of charge... mabey they should have explored other options. give the family a time frame. something.. so in the end. both partys are at fault.
 
#7
It really boils down to charity. At what point do we cut it off, and at what cost is too high. I do agree that everyone should get life saving care if needed. Long term care is another issue.

If I was to go the Mexico and need emergency treatment, they will send me home as soon as I am stable enough to move. Their is no long term care for Americans in any foriegn counrty. Stabilize and send back to America. Why are we be required to treat others different than the rest of the world treats us? We should be sending the home country of the illegals the bill, and stop long term care if they don't pay.

Okay, end of my rant.
 
#9
If he can get the same quality of care/ or the level of care that is needed to care for the PT in his own country, then by all means send him back.

Hospitals have to give Emergency life saving care to every one no matter where they are from, but after that they have the right to refuse care any further.

Why whould we have a pay for for his medical bills\? gov wont pay for it, then our people medical cost go up to pay for him, which hurts every one else.
 
#10
I stand behind the hospital 100%. They had already spent 1.5 million dollars to care for this man over a 3 year period. What was the family doing for this man during this time frame. Did they try to get this man insurance or some other way to take care of him? He was here illegally and he was sent home. A judge ordered it and in my eyes the hospital covered their azz.
We had a similar case here in Phoenix. The lady in this case was eventually sent back to her home country. The family was ordered by the courts to provide some type of financial backing or insurance for her care. When they could not do that she was sent to her home country.
People say that it is cruel to do this, but then they turn around and complain about how much it cost us to go to the hospital or for our health insurance. We don't need reform when it comes to healthcare or insurance, what we need is legalize all of the illegals and get them paying taxes. That would help with the way the economy is right now. Just look at how much we spend nation wide on illegal immigrants. It is into the billions of dollars. If they were all legal US citizens then we wouldn't have this problem.
 

Justyntym

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I stand behind the hospital 100%. They had already spent 1.5 million dollars to care for this man over a 3 year period. What was the family doing for this man during this time frame. Did they try to get this man insurance or some other way to take care of him? He was here illegally and he was sent home. A judge ordered it and in my eyes the hospital covered their azz.
We had a similar case here in Phoenix. The lady in this case was eventually sent back to her home country. The family was ordered by the courts to provide some type of financial backing or insurance for her care. When they could not do that she was sent to her home country.
People say that it is cruel to do this, but then they turn around and complain about how much it cost us to go to the hospital or for our health insurance. We don't need reform when it comes to healthcare or insurance, what we need is legalize all of the illegals and get them paying taxes. That would help with the way the economy is right now. Just look at how much we spend nation wide on illegal immigrants. It is into the billions of dollars. If they were all legal US citizens then we wouldn't have this problem.


+ infinity


Hospitals are already struggling under the staggering costs of treating the nation’s roughly 47 million uninsured. Illegal immigrants make up an estimated 15 percent of this group, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
 
#12
Seems simple to me. They went well above and beyond but ultimately he didn't belong here. If we keep this up all of the "sick and weary" will be using our medical facilities this way and once again we'll foot their bill. That 1.5 million has to be repaid somehow.

Oh and the argument that our facilities are better than those of his home country so we shouldn't ship him home is garbage. I could make the argument that by not being in his home country he's not paying his home hospital (system) and thereby stealing their ability to make improvements or to practice their trade so as to become better all the way around.

Our hospitals are the way they are because of studious doctors, amazing nurses, practice, and a lot of trial & error. Give those countries the same opportunities...
 

Busa1166

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+1 for the Hospi.. I don't think they should have had to pay for the plane. They should have just been able to call immigration/ or homeland security an they should have come an picked em up.

BTW i was refused care at a hospital for lack of insurance, I was stable so they said hit the road an get your ass to Jackson Memorial:whistle: :laugh:
 

TonyMastodon

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my tax dollars went to a save a life, i am all for that.

BUT, just because he was treated here, doesnt make him legal to live here.

they did the right thing.
 
#16
+ infinity


Hospitals are already struggling under the staggering costs of treating the nation’s roughly 47 million uninsured. Illegal immigrants make up an estimated 15 percent of this group, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
we still need to shine the light on the other 85% (legal / citizens)...once again, let's let the minority take blame for the majority.:banghead: costs are outrageous, needs to be more realistic. btw...most illegals that I have come across do pay taxes. and, if anyone is interested, look on the social security website, those who are here LEGALLY on a work authorization (green card) part of the issueing agreement is they pay in, but are NOT elligible for benefits. the fees and waiting to do it right are outrageous also.
 

Mrs.Rubber2Burn

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I agree with a lot of the comments offered up. I have been known to frequently get on my soapbox and rant about American Children that can not get the basic health care they need because their parents work and make just enought money to be above poverty level so that the kids are not eligible for health care assistance. Yes, it is true that emergency rooms legally have to treat these kids, but ER's are NOT primary care doctors and should not have to be used as such. At what point can we quit arguing about the billions spent on non Americans and get some health coverage for our US children??
 

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