Of course, they can’t afford to pay anything, they expect American taxpayers to foot the whole bill, for what could take many years.
Huffington Post MINNEAPOLISTAN: The family of an exchange student from Pakistan who has been comatose since a November crash is trying to prevent a Minnesota hospital from sending him back to his home country.
Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa, 20, was spending a semester in an exchange program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. On Nov. 13, he and his friends were driving back there from Minneapolis when their car struck a deer, his brother, Shahraiz Bajwa, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Shahzaib Bajwa suffered severe facial fractures but was talking when he arrived at a hospital in Cloquet. He choked on blood there and went into cardiac arrest, but was resuscitated and transferred to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, his brother said.
The anthropology and sociology major suffered brain damage from the heart attack and remains comatose. Though he can open his eyes, squeeze his mother’s hand, shrug his shoulders and has some movement in his legs, doctors have told the family it’ll take a couple more years to find out how much more the 20-year-old will recover, Shahraiz Bajwa said.
A hospital spokeswoman said Shahzaib Bajwa won’t be able to stay in the country legally after his student visa expires Feb. 28. Essentia has pressured the Bajwa family to sign consent forms to return the man to Pakistan, a flight that would take 24 hours, Shahraiz Bajwa said.
“If we take him back to Pakistan this is certainly pushing him toward death,” Shahraiz Bajwa said. (That’s YOUR problem) “We don’t want him to die in a miserable condition in a third-world country. It’s better if he stays here.” (Better for whom? Let Pakistan pay for his care)
It’s not unusual for U.S. hospitals seeking to curb high costs to effectively deport foreign citizens back home, even when they’re comatose, an Associated Press review found last year. Shahraiz Bajwa said the hospital bill has reached about $350,000. Hospitals typically pay for the flights for these “medical repatriations,” often without consulting any courts or federal agencies, the AP’s review found.
Essentia spokeswoman Maureen Talarico said the hospital is making arrangements with the State Department to transport Shahzaib Bajwa to Pakistan. “This is an unfortunate situation and his caregivers are working closely with Mr. Bajwa’s family to ensure the smoothest transition possible,” she said in an email.
Shahzaib Bajwa’s health insurance policy through his exchange program has a cap of $100,000, and his brother said Essentia has chosen to absorb the costs and not tap that policy so the money would be available for his care in Pakistan. (More than generous)
The family’s immigration attorney, Saiko McIvor, said they’re exploring their legal options for finding a way for the man to stay. “It’s a really, really sad situation,” McIvor said. She said the family, from Faisalabad in Punjab province, is not wealthy, so they’d have trouble paying for his care in Pakistan. (And why is that OUR problem?)
UPDATE: U.S. State Department rejects extension of visa for comatose Pakistani student. HOORAY!
STAR TRIBUNE St. Mary’s Medical Center is planning to send Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa back to Pakistan, but his family worries he won’t survive. Time is running out for a 20-year-old Pakistani exchange student who has been in a coma at a Duluth hospital for three months.
St. Mary’s Medical Center, which has cared for Bajwa since a November car collision with a deer, is trying to send him back to his home country of Pakistan, Shahraiz Bajwa said. He’s fighting to keep his younger brother in the United States, despite a soon-to-expire student visa and quickly multiplying medical bills.
“The heath care’s not so good there,” Shahraiz Bajwa said in a telephone interview. “But the flight itself — which is more than 24 hours — is too much. Anything can happen to him in the middle of nowhere.”
Shahzaib Bajwa’s student visa is set to expire Feb. 28, said the family’s attorney, Saiko McIvor, with the Minneapolis-based law firm Dorsey & Whitney. It’s already been extended once, she said. “I basically begged the U.S. State Department to extend it … which they did.”
McIvor is working to get another extension — which could be tough because Bajwa is no longer enrolled at the university — or a different type of permission. But that would fix only one of two problems, she said. “That doesn’t solve the situation of where he’s going to be.”
While hospital officials are “doing their best to accommodate the family,” McIvor said, it’s also dealing with medical bills the family won’t pay.
Hospitals are required to provide emergency care to patients “regardless of their immigration status,” according to a report from the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. But “this obligation terminates once a patient is stabilized.”
Because the U.S. State Department is not renewing Bajwa’s visa, “he is not legally allowed to stay in the country,” Maureen Talarico, an Essentia Health spokeswoman, said in a statement.
UPDATE #2: Muslim Brotherhood front group CAIR-Minnesotastan today welcomed the State Department’s decision to not deport Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa. The family has received verbal assurances that Bajwa will not be deported but is still awaiting details on the State Department’s decision.