Immigrants Deported by US Hospitals while they are Unconscious

Immigrants Deported by US Hospitals while they are Unconscious

By Dawn Cranfield

Immigrants Deported by US Hospitals while they are Unconscious

United States hospitals are coming under fire by some due to a practice known as “medical repatriation”, where undocumented immigrants are transported back to their native countries while they are unconscious.  The process allows US hospitals to deport the unconscious patients without their consent if they come up as an undocumented immigrant.

The controversial practice has resulted in over 600 undocumented immigrants to be returned to their home countries in the last 5 years.

Immigration advocates believe it violates US and international laws by targeting immigrants while they are rendered helpless.  “They don’t have advocates, and they don’t have people who will speak on their behalf,” immigrant advocate and attorney, John De Leon, of Miami, Florida, told The Huffington Post.  (

The act of medical repatriation is not mandated by the federal government, even through the iStock_Hospital3deportation process.

US hospitals have used the process to cut the high cost of health care costs.  “Most undocumented immigrants do not have health insurance, and they are not eligible for insurance programs, such as Medicaid.” (

While hospitals are required to respond to patients seeking treatment initially, regardless of their citizenship, insurance, or status, once they are stabilized, there is no funding to cover the remaining charges.  Caring for uninsured patients is expensive, and hospitals are looking for any way they can to cut spending.

However, immigration and some healthcare advocates are concerned that an increasing number of hospitals will implement this medical repatriation due to healthcare reform.  They believe that with more undocumented immigrants being deported through the process there will be a greater likelihood of losing track of the number of deportations.

“The problem is it’s all taking place in this unregulated sort of a black hole … and there is no tracking,” said law professor Lori Nessel, director of the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School, where free legal representation is offered to immigrants. (

It has been reported that some of the estimated 600 (or more) patients who were transported back to their home country subsequently died; it is believed they were moved to facilities with subpar medical care in relation to the care they were receiving in the United States.

In 2009, in a statement by the American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, they urged doctors to not “‘allow hospital administrators to use their significant power and the current lack of regulations’ to deport undocumented patients”.  (

However, the statement went on to add, “Doctors cannot expect hospitals to provide costly uncompensated care to patients indefinitely. But neither should physicians allow hospitals to arbitrarily determine the fate of an uninsured, non-citizen immigrant patient.” (

Ft. Belvoir HospitalI understand being empathetic, and it is easy to get drawn in when you hear stories about somebody being sent to a country with substandard or subpar medical care, especially if they perish; however, there are plenty of people in this country, American citizens, who do not have medical insurance who get turned away every day from the hospital.  Besides, those who do have medical insurance pay higher premiums and higher bills to pay for those who do not.

So, before you protest sending an undocumented immigrant who has no ability to pay, think of your fellow American who may not have the ability to pay, and even those who do.

Source Article

45 Responses to "Immigrants Deported by US Hospitals while they are Unconscious"

  1. Erin Bliss   April 26, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    What a bunch of heartless Republicans. I wonder how you’d feel if you or someone you cared about was deported while unconscious. Those of you who think this practice is just fine are probably “good Christians” too.

  2. texasmedicaltaskforce   April 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    A person is a person and not an animal, let’s take away the immigrant, white, black or chinese and just see a person who is helpless and can not take care of themselves. It is cruel and uncalled for. The systems allow them to come here and then blame them for getting ill. Can you take care of them forever, but is it really cheaper when you have to pay to send them back to their countries. This world is sick and this should not be. People are people and everyone should have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that’s the Constitution.

  3. Scott   April 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    They are not here Legal and have no insurance, as long as they are stable send them home, I do not see a problem at all with doing it, We Americans can’t do everything, Now I am sure there might be a group you can donate to if you have a problem with this or start one up to help pay for the stay in the Hospital and the medical treatment that may be required but to put it on the back of the tax payer is not the right way or the ones who have insurance.

  4. carmen   April 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I do not see any white people doing the type of job that a lot of this people do so educate your self the people who are in welfare system are mostly from here so do not blame illegal inmigrant for the mess that this Country is in blame the politicians for this.

    • Fred   April 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Guess what Carmen… you’re still paying and you’ll be paying tomorrow as well. Plus exactly my point they are from here, so not a single person should be paying a dime for them. Get up and work like ILLEGAL ALIENS DO. You should probably get educated as well and learn how to type.

    • BigD   April 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      Try to get into another country illegally, especially one that sends us a large number of illegals and see how much help you get! I agree with the previous message. If your so concerned, setup a fund and provide the dollars to cover it. It is a free country and as such we shouldn’t be forced to pay the bills of people who don’t belong in the country. I agree we should stabilize them but once it’s safe don’t you agree it’s only humane to let the recover in the comfort and familiarity of their homeland. I think we are just trying to consider what’s best. If you were unconscious would you be comforted to wake up at “home” instead of in a foreign country with the horrible, uncaring Americans?

  5. Lee Stu   April 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    sick, fat and nearly dead” should be the national motto

  6. Lee Stu   April 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    want to end hunger? homelessness? do the same as hospitals required resturants or any establishment serving food cannot turn away anyone who enters and says they are hungry
    Hotels motels bed and breakfest can not refuse anyone who says they cannot pay must make availible along with roomservice there Hey it worked for Hospitals and Doctors why not OOOOH you’ll go broke so join the club you can’t give away for free neither can Hospitals but somehow they are MANDATED yet are businesses just like you

  7. confuseddaily   April 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Sorry, but I agree, send them back!

  8. Fred   April 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Its so funny how everybody seems to turn their back on the white trash of America that that claim to be on disability eating steak on the state and popping pills like its out of style, all on who….you buddy. Those are your own fellow Americans. I would love to see what percentage of those undocumented patients had to go to the hospital due to work related injuries doing jobs that none of you that commented on this article would probably do. Probably couldn’t make your way out of a wet paper bag… idiots

  9. Lee Stu   April 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Bharath: don’t make me laugh 24 hr supervision ha try signaling a nurse some time or calling the floor nursing station Yes we have 24 hour supervision But not in a row Hour nhere couple there some than it equals 24 hours but not in a row

  10. winter   April 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    As an immigrant myself I once got sick and saw the situation of different people including many uninsured US Citizens. I go to wallmart and I saw a lot of people on food stamps.

    In view of what I see I am just glad I am able to pay my taxes and have a great job to help these people Citizen or not in their time of need instead of complaining how tax are spent.
    I hope people just start to look into the good things in life and not to dwell on the bad and provide constructive help instead of idle words.

    Perhaps the people who makes harsh comments can run for president or senate so they can do something constructive? Perhaps they can start by getting a job even how lowly it is?Perhaps we can start looking at other immigrants as the people who are wanting to be like you as an American and in other cases in their desperation.

  11. Lee Stu   April 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    can’t we just raise the cigarette taxes yet again to pay for yet another problem

  12. Bharath   April 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    This is a really difficult issue, note I am a physician at a US hospital(to my knowledge we have never deported anyone) However, we often have patients who require 24 hour supervision because they are status post stroke and they have limited mobility or they are a fall risk. Because these patients are uninsured and their families often cannot provide this care, we are left simply monitoring them in the hospital. This is the worst place for these patients as they are at high risk for nosocomial infections, and it literally costs nearly 3000 dollars daily to house them. I am not advocating for one side or another, but I do believe that this is a much more complicated issue than this article details. A more reasonable examination of this issue would examine the complexities these issues, rather than simply trying to characterize American Hospitals and Physicians as categorically evil

  13. Bob Conaway   April 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Isn’t this a death sentence of sorts? Wow, will there be wrongful death lawsuits for people sent to facilities not able to provide the care?

  14. Tek   April 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    The time of feeling sorry for these poor little illegals is over. Kudos to any hospitals and their staff for taking out the trash. They are called ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS for a reason! They are not entitled to ANYTHING! You bleeding heart liberals are the root cause of this problem and now our nations economy and WORKING taxpayers are suffering because of it. Charity, welfare and free hand outs to these illegal freeloaders has to stop. This country is bleeding dry. If we don’t stop this now, well if you don’t know by now, please go to your local hospital and let them deport you.

  15. mikesigman   April 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    This is a good example of what to do. Find anyone who thinks that returning sick people to their native country, rather than letting the unwilling people of a foreign country take care of those sick people, wrong…. and get rid of them. Get rid of the liberals who go by what sounds good as opposed to what works and keeps the system from failing. Get rid of the fat, dumb, and happy who have never really had to work for a living!

  16. Tapeis GlueandBacking   April 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Insurance is the problem. It’s like pouring gas on a fire.

    Imagine if we had lunch insurance or shoe insurance.

    Napoleon brandy at every lunch and a new pair of Nike’s for every walk.

    The Medical Government complex works like this:

    The government makes laws such that only a 7+ year trained doctor can do what could have been done by a 1 year extra trained nurse.

    Why, exactly, do I have the right to be examined by a free doctor any time I want?

    Nurses should be allowed to do much more (cheaper) and Pharmacists should be allowed to do much more. That way surgeons and super trained ‘doctors’ can be reserved for surgeries and addictive drugs, special cases where they are needed.

    The new Obama care is going to work like this: Rich people (meaning people who work) will be forced to pay the new insurance tax. “Everybody” excludes all the people who don’t “cant’ work, including more and more. They’ll be given the “insurance” for free.

    It’s all a scam, just another name for another tax where the government artificially and greatly reduces the number of people who can give you care.

    If you remove all reason to work, why work?

    I wonder how much damage it does to poor fathers across the country now that schools feed their kids? Parents lose something when they don’t feed their own children, a connection is lost, a respect is lost, training is lost.

  17. Eric   April 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    if proper care can be provided in their home country then I don’t see the problem. A patient in a vegitative state should be sent home where ever that is. The family is there and will be the best source for infomation on what treatment is needed to help the patient.

  18. Mark Sheldon   April 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Hey Ill-informed writer, they are not “Undocumented immigrants”, they are “ILLEGAL ALIENS”, your Newspeak cowtow to political “correctness” is offensive and ignorant of these people’s true nature. We have processes and laws in place to allow people of other nations to immigrate and become citizens. These illegals flaunt our laws and drain our system, taking away resources from honest TAX PAYING americans at the same time INCREASING the burden of those who do pay taxes! So call them what they are, and (with no apologies) safely deport them back to where they came from, hopefully with a manual of how to legally become a citizen of the United States of America.

    • Fred   April 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      wow your an idiot as well

      • BigD   April 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

        No Fred. You are.

      • Mark Sheldon   April 24, 2013 at 2:29 am

        elaborate Fred

  19. David Johnson   April 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    What a disgusting practice!….. to not even give them a chance to air their side!
    Cost savings at the expense of integrity,conscience and acknowledgment of the human condition,whereby we ALL are in the same difficult place: planet Earth.
    We are our brother’s keeper. (now,where did I hear that ?)?

    • Mark Sheldon   April 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Hey David, why don’t you pick up the costs of these illegals and then you can rant about the injustices of our system all you want, hospitals are BUSINESSES which need to generate revenue, if you don’t like it, you have every right in the world to open up your own hospital or clinic to serve illegal aliens’ medical needs. Not being sarcastic, just encouraging you to put your money where your mouth is and stop trying to enforce your own ridiculous views on other private citizens and businesses, after all, you are your brother’s keeper, aren’t you?

  20. Carolyn   April 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    If this is true, it is unconscionable. Health care should be free to everyone. Already we have hospitals dumping patients on the streets in the U.S. – and these are citizens. However, citizen or not, everyone has the right to be well-treated and cared for. Our country is truly barbaric.

    • James Dillinger   April 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Nice thoughts Carolyn, now why don’t you donate your own money to pay for the costs of these illegals health care? Good intentions do not pay the bills.

      Health care is never free, there’s a high cost to running a hospital or clinic. If you are that naive, please refrain from posting and allow the grown ups to comment.

      Or like the poster above, why don’t you put in your own time and money and open up a clinic or hospital for illegals? But you probably would rather make the government or other citizens pay for it wouldn’t you?

    • BigD   April 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      Carolyn why don’t you sneak out a tunnel to Mexico then, there are tons of them at the boarder. I’m sure they’ll give you all the free stuff you could ever want and hey, since so many of then are coming here illegally I’m sure they have room for you. Why would you want to live in a barbaric country like the USA. If you want I’ll buy you a ticket to Iran or North Korea. They treat virtually everyone the same and the govt provide for all your needs as they see fit. I’m sure you’ll be happy there.

  21. jack doyle   April 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm


  22. Onryone   April 23, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Ability to pay? More like the ability to walk away and not pay! I’m uninsured, and was in a dog attack breaking both of my calcaneus (front & rear on one foot – rear on the other) in the process, the doctor simply looked at me and said we’re just going to put you in cast’s and send you on your way. Now I’ve lost my job and have no way to get any kind of benefits either. So to hell with all the illegals bleeding the system dry and not having anything for the people who really need it and deserve to have it! How about a return to the old ways of doing things!

    • Fred   April 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      you are a complete idiot

    • paul vega   April 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      If you think that if there was no “illegals bleeding the system ” the hospital will give you better care and benefits too, you are very naive. This country needs to copy the health care system of Sweden But as long as the political system allows insurance companies to donate to congress, this will never change.

  23. BillRM   April 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    My lord what will happen the first time someone is deported in error and then died?

    Worst case would be a US citizen.

    Talk about lawsuits!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Bill   April 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    A single day’s stay in some hospitals will cost over $2000. No medical procedure costs are included. Guess who pays for that? Also, if you feel strongly about keeping deadbeats, donate your money to the IRS next tax cycle. Just add as much income as you have available, since the cost of the average hospital stay is about $16,000.

  25. halloween3   April 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Hummm who is paying for these hospital stays insurance??, probably you and me with taxes.

  26. mlimberg   April 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Brilliant…. Just drop them off at the end of the runway….

  27. Jose Garcia   April 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    If you are going to tell readers what to think at the end of your article, then what is the purpose of writing it in the first place? I am a doctor, this hospitals’ practices are illegal; they are not supposed to check or report on their patient’s legal status. Shame on them.

    • dawn7   April 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Thank you for your comments. I was not necessarily telling my readers what to think; I was reporting on the issue, then giving my opinion, as I have been provided a venue for doing so. They are free to think for themselves.

      As for whether or not the practice is legal or illegal I cannot state that to be fact.

      Again, I appreciate you weighing in on the issue.

      Best regards,

    • Robert   April 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Garcia??? Of course you would side with the Mexicans…duh!!!

    • Jim   April 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      as you just stated your opinion, the writer has the option of expressing their own opinion. or simply don’t complain about someone else’s article

      • Jim   April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        as far as the legality of their deportation or treatment, remember good doctor, you are part of the system and as such you admit that you have allowed your fellow doctors to do the same and turn your blind eye

  28. zuzu   April 23, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Well done hospitals!!!

    • Fred   April 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      you are an idiot too

  29. Dora Smith   April 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Excuse me, has this site been attacked by the Great Hacker today? In any case, i’m not believing such a story from a sensationalist British newspaper without specific details – what hospital, what people, dates.

    • dawn7   April 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      If you click the link that says “Source article” you will find a few more details. Additionally, if you Google it, there are numerous articles about it. Specifically, there were two cases in Iowa.

      However, as you can see, I did cite my sources, as always. You can see the article by going to the link.

      Best regards,


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