JOLOMCÚ, Guatemala — High in the hills of Guatemala, shut inside a one-room house, Luis Alberto Jimenez has no idea of the legal battle that swirls around him in the lowlands of Florida.
Beaming at his toothless mother, his sole caregiver, Jimenez remains cheerily oblivious that he has come to represent the collision of two flawed U.S. systems, immigration and health care.
Eight years ago, Jimenez, now 35, an illegal immigrant working as a gardener in Stuart, Fla., suffered devastating injuries in a car crash with a drunken Floridian. A community hospital saved his life, twice, and, after failing to find a rehabilitation center willing to accept an uninsured patient, kept him as a ward for years at a cost of $1.5 million.
What happened next set the stage for a legal battle with nationwide repercussions: Jimenez was deported, not by the federal government but by Martin Memorial Hospital. After winning a state court order that would later be declared invalid, Martin Memorial leased an air ambulance for $30,000 and "forcibly returned him to his home country," as one hospital administrator described it. - Seattle Times
Cheap little bastards. I can hear it already: "Universal health care would..."