JUNE 13, 2008
A Florida hospital administrator whose facility is overwhelmed with the exorbitant cost of treating illegal immigrants told state lawmakers that federal authorities usually ignore when the hospital reports illegal immigrants.
Testifying before a state House committee, the frustrated Martin Memorial Medical Center official also told legislators that the hospital has spent more than a quarter of a million dollars to fight a lawsuit from an uninsured illegal immigrant returned to his native country after racking up a $1.5 million bill.
The lawsuit has further burdened the south Florida facility already overwhelmed with sick and uninsured illegal immigrants. It involves a Guatemalan Mayan farm worker who was hospitalized for 3 ½ years at the Stuart facility with severe brain injuries sustained in a car wash.
After receiving a judge’s permission, the hospital put him on a plane back to Guatemala in 2003 and it has been fighting a costly legal battle since. The case was appealed in 2006 and is still pending in south Florida’s Martin County. This means the hospital’s legal bills will continue mounting.
The facility has also spent a substantial amount of money treating a brain damaged illegal immigrant from Mexico for the past two years and officials estimate that half of the 2,170 births last year were to illegal immigrants. That, of course, means no insurance and no money to pay for the costly medical tab.
The recent House testimony got practically no media coverage and was attended by only a few people at the state capitol in Tallahassee. After all, Florida’s House Speaker, Marco Rubio, is an ardent defender of illegal immigrants who certainly doesn’t want to publicize the dark side of illegal immigration or the huge toll it’s having on his state.
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