Hospital Ships Immigrant Stroke Victim Back to Poland


In a statement released Wednesday night, Haigney said, "Our patient received advanced care at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital's Comprehensive Stroke Center for a total of 51 days, and was transferred under clinical supervision via a commercial business class flight into the care of qualified emergency medical technicians who accompanied the patient to the hospital.

"The Hospital has completed its initial review of this patient's transfer and is currently working with the Polish consulate to ensure the patient's needs continue to be met," the hospital said.

Despite the disappearance of their friend, Jedra and his daughter Jennifer told that they both thank Robert Wood Johnson University hospital for the help it provided Haniszewski, who previous to his recent admission had had surgery at the hospital to remove two toes.

While investigating Haniszewski's medical repatriation, Junczyk-Ziomecka's office spoke with a representative from an escort medical flight company, who told her that the company was hired by the hospital to transport Haniszewski to Poland.

The representative told Junczyk-Ziomecki that Haniszewski was unable to communicate effectively while being transported, Junczyk-Ziomecki told ABC News.

"I'm very upset," Junczyk-Ziomecki said. "Imagine if you didn't know what was going on, and not the family, or the diplomatic post, is making the decision about what happens to you, but the hospital?"

The hospital's decision to ship Haniszewski abroad, rather than continue to treat him, could be part of what Seton Hall Law School professor Lori Ann Nessel says is an increasingly common situation. Undocumented and uninsured residents are placing a financial strain on hospitals, who are in turn hiring private companies to deport on their own, circumventing the government.

"Inherently, medical repatriation occurs in a vulnerable population, at their most vulnerable moment. It's very difficult for a person, or family members, to find out their legal rights," she said.

Another issue: the danger of transporting a patient across borders and overseas while they're in a medically vulnerable state.

"They're inherently dangerous," Nessel said. "Even though it's no longer an emergency treatment … we've documented instances where people have died, or been left in really deteriorated physical health, where it's unsafe to travel."

Nessel, who is also the director for Seton Hall's Center for Social Justice, said that a big issue in Haniszewski's case, and in many others, is the ability to consent.

"Even if he's not comatose, he's not in shape that he can give any informed consent," she said. "It's outrageous that a hospital is comfortable saying … that they were telling him what they were going to do. The cases are really alarming because they do happen with increasing frequency.

"There isn't sufficient government oversight," she said. "It's too easy for hospitals to pay a private company to get this person off their hands. This should never be done without the government getting involved, without regulations and protocols."

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