Thursday, May 11, 2006

Illegal Aliens Bring Undiagnosed Health Problems

The ramifications of illegal aliens with undetermined illness continue to overburden our health care facilities.
Those with contagious diseases put us all at risk by spreading their disease.
The costs of care bankrupt our hospital facilities and public health services while increasing the charges to paying clients in order to make up for the shortfall

A neurosurgeon writes of his experience with an illegal alien. The alien had TB meningitis, required long hospitalization. The surgeon ended up admiring the illegal since he hoped to work again when many American citizens would have wanted to apply for disability. This determination on the part of the illegal alien is admirable however I encourage you to read the article and note:

A large community hospital, which served Port Chester, Rye and Mamaroneck NY, has been closed due to too many patients unable to pay for their care.
The alien was working in the community while contagious with sputum positive for a very drug resistant form of TB.
The relatives of this man were also positive for TB and were working in local restaurants and potentially exposing whoever visited the restaurant.
The hospital bill of $200,000 was unpaid.
Extra time is involved when caring for a patient in isolation with a communicable disease so the time allowed to care for other patients diminishes or the staffing level must be increased. (As a retired nurse, I can tell you this is rarely done. The staff is just forced to do the best they can without additional help.)
If strict isolation techniques are not followed, health care personnel and other patients are at risk.
The surgeon's fees and those of many other medical specialists were unpaid.
A pathologist refused to contaminate his equipment. The operating room and all of it's equipment had to be decontaminated to assure safety for future patients.
Health department personnel, funded by taxpayers, had to be involved in tracking his contacts, testing them for TB and providing medication to those who tested positive.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "Several months ago, I had an unusual encounter with an illegal immigrant. He was only 25, from Guatemala, and had been in the U.S. for only three months. He'd been doing landscaping work until he was admitted to Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, with an excruciating headache. The medical team discovered that he had active tuberculosis, so fulminant that it had even invaded his spinal fluid. "

"He ended up in Greenwich Hospital because the one in the town where he'd settled, the neighboring and much less well-to-do Port Chester, had shut down after going bankrupt."

"Why should our hospitals have to eat the cost of disease brought in by undocumented workers? I found out that his bill totaled $200,000. This excludes professional fees, meaning everything that would have been billed separately by the many physicians treating him over 10 weeks (including what I'd have charged for surgery). We all worked for him free."

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