Hospital Will Not Deport Honduran Immigrant Over Insurance

Good news, folks: Sonia del Cid Iscoa will not be forcibly (or apparently otherwise) deported to Honduras. Even better, her condition has improved markedly and at an exceptional rate. (Thanks to Lindsay for the update.)

St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center on Tuesday reached agreement with lawyers representing Sonia del Cid Iscoa, ending an international legal drama over whether a legal immigrant could be forcibly transported from the country by a medical facility.

Iscoa, 34, did not have sufficient medical insurance to cover long-term care, St. Joseph’s could not offer it, and there were no apparent programs that could take her.

The hospital planned to fly her to a government hospital in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Iscoa’s family went to Maricopa County Superior Court to get a temporary restraining order, and all parties were scheduled to appear before a judge on Friday.

But Iscoa’s condition has improved so markedly in the past several days that the discussion has changed.

“She has begun to take semisolid food. She is on room air, as opposed to supplemental oxygen. And she’s not had dialysis for a week, which is a huge improvement,” said attorney John Curtain. “Because of this the hospital at present is not contemplating sending her to Honduras.”
Of course, I find it odd that St. Joseph’s is no longer contemplating forced deportation now that Iscoa is seemingly doing well without dialysis, but was more than willing to deport her to a hospital that had no dialysis equipment back when she did need it. There’s some ethics for ya. One almost has to wonder if the decision came out of newfound financial ability, a moral revelation, or just some really shitty publicity that needed to be plugged up.

Though not entirely clear from the article, it does seem like Iscoa’s family is still going to need money to pay off medical bills, and since she’s still in recovery, her struggle is far from over.

The fact that Iscoa’s immediate crisis has been resolved is also no reason to stop discussing the issue and go back to our happy lives like it didn’t happen. Because this isn’t and never was just about one woman — it’s also about the approximately 8 immigrant patients that this one hospital forcibly deports each month, and who knows how many others that are deported by other hospitals across the nation.

Breathe a sigh of relief for Iscoa, but don’t stop talking.

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