Illegal Immigrant Kicked Out of Galveston Hospital
In an incident that's certain to heat up the debate over the rights of illegal immigrants, a state owned hospital in Galveston recently ordered a woman, who is a Mexican national, to leave the hospital because it had been learned that she's not in this country legally.
The crushing news came last month as Maria Sanchez was being prepared for surgery to remove a banana-size tumor along her spine that had crept between her vertebrae.
Unable to use her right hand because of the growing tumor, Sanchez, 24, had been at the University of Texas Medical Branch's John Sealy Hospital for six days when, she said, a Spanish-speaking doctor told her she had to leave the hospital immediately because she was an illegal immigrant. The doctor said she should have surgery in Mexico, according to Sanchez.
Sanchez's abrupt expulsion raises ethical and legal questions about the treatment of low-income patients with life-threatening conditions.
State laws on medical care for illegals are murky at best. Hospitals are not required to accept illegal immigrants as patients outside the emergency room. However, a hospital is ethically obligated to provide care after accepting a patient regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.