Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hello Taxpayers

A 19 year old illegal alien from Mexico came into my ED last night by ambulance. What I meant to say that a 19 year old guest worker/visitor/(insert politically correct term of the day here) came into the ED etc..

Up front, this guy's life is now shit. He was in a bad car wreck and is paraplegic as a result. This wreck occurred two weeks ago while he and 5 others were driving across the country for work. The car hit a tree. Pablo fractured his lumbar spine and also had intra-abdominal injuries. He was treated at the nearest trauma center and released to family. His treatment included two major surgeries, one of which was a stabilization of his fractured spine.

Last night he was septic from a bad urinary infection. I suspect that his bladder was not functioning properly after his injury. He was very ill and needed to be admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics and further study. He was immediately in the post operative period so he HAD to go back to the hospital that operated on him 12 days ago.

The reason for this is that our facility has no trauma or neurosurgical capability and besides that, there is a generally accepted rule that one surgeon does not clean up another surgeon's mess. It's a bad idea for many reasons not the least of which is a liability one.

The only way to do this was to fly him there so we did. 150 miles by helicopter. No insurance. No viable way to rehab and recover after he is discharged again. No skills. No education. He doesn't speak English. Tragic all around. And thank you American taxpayer for footing the bill both through your increased tax burden and through the increased premiums you pay for insurance as the cost of health care increases (for many reasons, including Pablo).

At the end of the day we have a young man from Mexico just trying to make some money who came to this country illegally. If he had crashed his car in Mexico he probably would have died. As it stands he will live in a wheelchair with no means to support himself in a country where he does not speak the language. He will live with some "in-laws" who could not afford the money to pay for a cab home from the Emergency Department. Come to think of it he will probably get a disability rating and be supported by the taxpayers. A tragedy on many different levels.

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