Photo: Martinez and his wife talk to KHOU-TV about hospital trying to send him away
A hospital in Texas has been accused of trying to send a paralyzed immigrant away because he is undocumented.
Francisco Martinez has been at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston since being injured at work three months ago.
Martinez and his wife now say the hospital is telling him he has to leave.
A written statement from the hospital said, “Under state and federal laws we are obligated to provide emergency treatment without regard to citizenship, legal status or ability to pay.” However, hospitals are not reimbursed for such care.
Joe Compian of Gulf Coast Interfaith, a group specializing in health care issues for families in the region told local CBS affiliate, KHOU-TV, that hospitals all over Texas are being forced to carry the burden of paying for the healthcare of undocumented immigrants who are unable to pay them.
‘Every day. Every day. Every day. It’s not the first case we’ve dealt with here at UTMB,’ Compain told them. “The community is still struggling to rebuild its emergency health care capacity,” he said. “We’re also in the unenviable position of Texas having the highest level of uninsured people in the country.”
Martinez is an undocumented Mexican immigrant, and his common-law wife, Brandi Cullen Valderram, says that from the moment the hospital discovered her husband had no health insurance they’ve been telling them they have to leave.
“There was no insurance. And since we’ve been here they’ve been telling us that there’s no other option except for him to go to Mexico. They’ve been trying to push, push, push, push, push,” Cullen Valderram told KHOU.
She says the hospital has been given $450 a week, and she and her son are currently living a shelter.
If Martinez is forced to leave they say they have no idea where they will go.