Man Deported From U.S. to Mexico Despite Grim Comatose Status, Now Awake
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
November 17, 2008
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — When Antonio Torres, a farm worker in Phoenix, Arizona, had a catastrophic car accident that left him in a coma, the local hospital deported him to Mexico despite status as a legal resident of the United States.
While Torres was still connected to a ventilator, suffering from pneumonia, and had an elevated white blood cell count indicative of pneumonia, St. Joseph’s Hospital dispatched him on a life-threatening 4-hour ambulance ride to a hospital in Mexico after he had been in their care for only a few weeks.
Fortunately, his parents were able to get their son admitted to El Centro Regional Medical Center in California, and within weeks Torres was back in the United States, though now with septic shock.
Eighteen days after his arrival at El Centro, he awoke from his coma and is now able to walk with the assistance of a cane.
"This was a kid who came to this country legally, worked here legally and had an accident," David R. Green, chief executive of El Centro Regional Medical Center told AP. "For God’s sake, don’t we take care of our folk? To me, this case shows one of the disastrously broken pieces of our health care system."
Nancy R. Valko, RN, of Missouri Nurses for Life expressed outrage at the Arizona hospital’s decision.
"Where is the alarm about the initial effort to end treatment from a man who
obviously had a chance at recovery?" asked Valko. "Hopefully, he won’t
a relapse and be a victim of a futility policy."
"We’re trying to be good stewards of the resources we have," said Sister Margaret McBride, a vice president of St. Joseph’s hospital, in response to criticism.
"We’re trying to make sure that the acute-care hospital is available for individuals who need acute care. We can’t keep someone forever," she told AP.
In contrast, Green noted that his hospital never deports its patients.
"We don’t export patients," Green added. "I can understand the frustrations of other hospitals, but the flip side is the human being element."
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