« House GOP not on board Senate payroll tax bill |
| Horrific Egypt military abuse of woman protester »
An American's nightmare in a Mexican hospital
A recent vacation in Mexico turned into a nightmare for a 79-year-old Illinois man. But it wasn't a devastating bus crash that almost killed U.S.-born Alfonso Acosta.
It was his stay in one of Mexico's government-run hospitals.
According to a harrowing account in the Quad-City Times, a daily newspaper, Acosta suffered a "major head injury, multiple facial fractures, broken ribs and a punctured lung." Yet for five weeks he lay "virtually untreated" at the hospital where he was taken in Toluca, about 40 miles southwest from Mexico City, say outraged family members in the United States who rushed to his bedside.
They found him in a hospital room with six other patients. They barely recognized him: His head was grotesquely swollen and his urine contained clotted blood from an improperly placed catheter. Alarmed at his deteriorating condition and by the indifferent and seemingly incompetent medical personnel who were treating him, family members began caring for Acosta themselves, all while dealing with medical personnel who were unable or unwilling to speak English.
Acosta's family members said they quickly learned that Mexico's government-run hospitals are far different than hospitals here. Medical provisions -- X-rays, blood work, and other hospital supplies -- had to be paid for up front, they said; and so they made regular trips to a local pharmacy to buy medicines or gauze. Eventually, they concluded the hospital wanted to keep Acosta bedridden for as long as possible in order to jack up his bill.
"The longer he stayed, the more money the hospital would get," Acosta's daughter Gina Lieferman, a sheriff's deputy in Iowa, was quoted as saying in the article, "Moline Man's Nightmare Vacation to Mexico."
"I accused them of holding dad hostage. It was a ransom situation," she said, adding: "The whole system operates on bribes and threats. At one point, I yelled, 'You're murdering my father!'"
Even as Acosta's condition deteriorated, hospital officials refused to discharge him, and it eventually took the intervention of the family's representative in Illinois, Congressman Bobby Schilling, a Republican, to discharge him and arrange for an air- ambulance flight to Houston.
A representative from Schilling's office, Andrea Pivarunas, was quoted as saying:
"There is no question that the family encountered an extremely challenging situation and that the Mexican government was of little help. Beyond being grateful we could help them overcome those challenges, we are looking at what can be done to help reduce the chance that others (could) go through what Mr. Acosta and his family endured for far too long."
The Acosta family also complained that the U.S. Embassy in Mexico failed to provide them with proper support, but Embassy officials said they did all they normally do.
The family's nightmare ended when Acosta was finally flown to a Houston hospital where he started to immediately receive the medical care that was never provided in Mexico. As the Quad-City Times explains:
The Quad-City Times' article is interesting on a number of levels, including how the nightmare story it tells contrasts with the excellent and humane emergency care that Mexicans -- including illegal and indigent immigrants - can count on getting at American hospitals, with medical personnel even making it a point to speak "medical Spanish" or having full-time translators available. Indeed, as the New York Times noted in an article in 2008 about larger numbers of poor immigrants seeking medical care at hospitals in the northeast, including Greenwich, Connecticut:
The story of Alfonso Acosta's nightmare in a government-run Mexican hospital is worth considering the next time a self-serving Mexican official or open-borders advocate complains about how badly Mexican nationals are being treated in this country.
FOLLOW US ON