Advocate Christ Medical Center senior vice president finally admitted they deported undocumented quadriplegic patient back to Mexico without his family authorization.
By H. Nelson Goodson
February 7, 2011
Oak Lawn, Illinois – On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Kelly Jo Golson, senior vice president and spokesperson for Advocate Christ Medical Center (ACMC) in Oak Lawn had admitted to deporting quadriplegic patient Quelino Jimenez Ojeda, 23, to Mexico. Ojeda was taken out of the medical center on December 21, after the executive ACMC board decided to forcibily remove Ojeda from hospital care after five months of treatment for a spinal cord injury escalating to 650,000 in medical costs. Ojeda was taken out of the hospital by AeroCare personnel hired by ACMC and put Ojeda on a plane to Mexico, so ACMC could finally stop paying for his medical treatment. The AeroCare transfer of Ojeda to Mexico cost $60,000, according to Golson.
Golson told the Chicago Tribune that after several private long care facilities refused to take him as a patient, Advocate executives decided to repatriate (deport) Ojeda without his consent or family authorization. In December, Advocate officials had persisted, Ojeda was removed from the hospital by permission of Ojeda’s mother.
Joseph Cece, AeroCare CEO in Sugar Grove told the Chicago Tribune that the doctors in Advocate and in Mexico had approved the transfer of Ojeda to Mexico. To Cece, it was a successful mission. It sure was for Cece, his company profits from illegal deportations like in Ojeda’s case. Doctors have no legal authority to transfer any patient to any foreign country without the patient’s consent or family authorization and Cece should know better.
Chicago Mexican community activists and friends had alleged that Advocate and AeroCare had falsified information to illegally remove Ojeda from the U.S. With the current revelations from Golson, it seems Advocate might have indeed falsified information to receive documents from the Mexican government to allow AeroCare to transport Ojeda into Oaxaca, Mexico.
Advocate system is working to draw up new comprehensive policies to deal with medical repatriations for its 12 hospitals, according to Golson and the Chicago Tribune. However, Advocate’s executive decision to repatriate Ojeda was definately illegal and most likely violated both state and federal laws including the Disabilities Act of 1991. Advocate officials should be held both liable and criminally accountable, according to Chicago Mexican community activists. Community activists, family and friends say, a new attorney representing Ojeda is expected to file a lawsuit against Advocate.
The Chicago Mexican Consulate had confirmed that Advocate or AeroCare never officially notified them of Ojeda’s deportation from Chicago to Mexico. At least between 10-15 repatriations of seriously ill or disabled undocumented immigrants are reported to the consulate per year, according to Ioana Navarrate Pellicer from the Mexican Consulate Protection Department in Chicago.
The Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations (SRE) has launched an investigation into who provided unauthorized government documents to Advocate Christ Medical Center and AeroCare in order to privately deport Ojeda without anyone knowing.
ACMC is a non-profit medical center. The Advocate system operates 12 medical facilities including hospitals.
Did AeroCare & Advocate Christ Hospital Falsified Information To Acquire Mexican Documents To Deport Quadriplegic Patient? http://bit.ly/hr1XW1
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Quelino Jimenez Ojeda