A Polish immigrant who suffered a stroke was reportedly deported by the N.J. hospital that treated him despite living in the U.S. for decades.
Wladyslaw Haniszewski, 69, is an undocumented immigrant who suffered a stroke and was treated at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., before he was transported without his consent to a hospital in the Polish town of Boleslawiec, the New York Daily News reported.
A friend said he took the Perth Amboy resident to the hospital earlier this month where he suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak.
The deportation has reportedly angered Polish diplomats.
"We submitted a proposal to the hospital in New Brunswick to appoint a guardian, because the patient, due to the consequences of a stroke, was unable to make a decision alone, and his two daughters did not want to have anything to do with it," Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, the Polish Consul General in New York, told NJToday.net. She claimed the hospital broke the law.
"The hospital did not react to our request, but suddenly we learned that the patient is already in Poland," she said.
The hospital, however, told the Daily News it followed proper procedures.
"The individual was informed regarding his discharge plan and care. As the hospital's understanding of the facts differs from the published reports, we are conducting a thorough review of the procedures and communications surrounding this gentleman's care," hospital spokesperson Peter Haigney said.
At least 600 immigrants who are not in the U.S. legally have gotten deported through what's known as "medical repatriation," aninvestigation reported in April. That allows hospitals to put patients, who can even be unconscious, on a international flight, often at the hospital's expense.
"The problem is it's all taking place in this unregulated sort of a black hole ... and there is no tracking," law professor Lori Nessel, director of the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School, told the AP at the time.
Hospitals are legally required to provide care for all patients in need of emergency treatment, regardless of citizenship. But once a stabilized, that requirement stops.
Nessel, interviewed by the Daily News about Haniszweksk, called the case "incredibly disturbing."
"This kind of action seems clearly illegal and also not ethical, but it's hard to bring a legal action," she said.
The hospital that received the patient told local media the U.S. hospital had reached out to move the patient, but the patient was transferred before the facility agreed, The Daily Mail reported.
New Jersey assemblyman and Deputy Speaker, John S. Wisniewski, expressed concern for the medical repatriation in a statement.
"I intend to make inquiries about the legal rights to which Mr. Haniszewski was entitled, whether his rights were violated and what recourse he may have," he said.