Imagine visiting a hospital in Los Angeles for medical treatment and waking up in another country. Sound like something from a work of fiction? For at least one man who was a former resident of the United States, this nightmare became a reality.
The 69-year-old man was deported though a little-known about process called medical repatriation. In the last five years, there have been at least 600 people who have been deported through this process. Hospitals may do it as a way to cut costs as immigrants who are in the country illegally may not have health insurance or a means to pay for their healthcare.
This seems to be the case for the man who was removed from the country while he was unconscious. The man suffered a stroke and despite living in the U.S. for nearly 30 years, the hospital where he was being treated sent him back to his native country of Poland without his consent. The man did not have health insurance at the time.
A state assemblyman says he will inquire into whether or not the deportation was a violation of the man’s legal rights. The Polish consulate is also expected to investigate the deportation and whether it followed U.S. law.
This man built his life here and went to the hospital trusting that he would receive treatment for his ailments. He would be well advised to seek the help of a lawyer who may be able to aid him in returning home to the United States.
Source: Huffington Post, “Stroke Victim Deported While Unconscious After Hospital Discovers He’s Undocumented,” Sara Gates, June 26, 2013