PHOENIX – The family of a Mexican immigrant who is in a coma and does not have health insurance is asking an Arizona hospital to give them more time to find a solution, after administrators said that they will disconnect him from life support or send him back to Mexico.
“The only thing we’re asking is for them to give us a little more time” to find a solution, Evelyn Saenz, the wife of 23-year-old Jesus Armando Cornelio, told Efe.
Brought to the United States by his parents when he was just a child, Cornelio suffered an embolism Sept. 19 while playing soccer. Since then, he has been in a coma.
Saenz, who is a U.S. citizen, said that representatives of the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix told her that she has only a few days to decide whether to disconnect her husband from the life support machines or have them send him to Mexico to receive further medical attention.
“I think the hospital is more interested in money than in his health,” said Saenz.
Cornelio, his wife said, upon marrying her had begun the procedure to get U.S. residence and last week he received permission to work legally in the United States and a Social Security card.
Even so, there is a regulation that demands that a person must have been a legal resident for at least five years to be able to request public assistance.
“In the hospital, they said that due to the lack of health insurance they cannot treat him,” said Saenz, who married Cornelio in April 2010.
The wife of the Mexican immigrant said she was frustrated with the system.
Reyna Polanco, a volunteer with the Respect/Respecto group, told Efe that Cornelio is a role model in his community.
“They told the family that he is brain-dead, but he opens his eyes and is showing certain improvements such as moving his hands,” Polanco said.
She said that if the hospital sends Cornelio to Mexico it would be like a “medical deportation.”
She added that in Arizona there had been several cases of hospitals that have sent patients to Mexico, above all undocumented immigrants, who do not have medical insurance that covers their expenses.
“This case is representative of the effects that the bad decisions of the state government are having on the budget cutbacks, the lack of values, the lack of ethics that we all must have,” the activist said.
“I don’t think this would be happening if the patient, instead of being named ‘Jesus,’ were named ‘Frankie,’” said Polanco, who added that being Hispanic and being in the process of regularizing his immigration status is a “disadvantage” for Cornelio.
The family hopes to get the help they need to save the life of their loved one, and they say that they have faith in God that Cornelio will once again be restored to full health.
Representatives of Banner Good Samaritan, a non-profit hospital, said in a press communique that they hope to reach an agreement with the family so that Cornelio eventually can recover. EFE