Monday, August 8, 2011

The story of an undocumented worker and access to health care

I just came across an interesting story in the New York Times that chronicled the story of an undocumented immigrant known as "Carlos". Riding his red bike, Carlos regularly made use of the medical care provided by a mobile health care provider that focused on uninsured patients. During one visit, the health care provider saw a large lump near Carlos' clavicle. Carlos needed a $200 biopsy, but no health care provider would take on a patient that could not provide identification. He was told to go to the emergency room for the much needed care, but he was given a bag of saline solution, a bill for $1,085, and a note that told him to follow-up with his primary care provider.

The hospital ended up scheduling a biopsy five months and three weeks into the future. Carlos vowed not to miss the appointment but he soon started to miss his appointments with the health care van. Soon, his friends would visit the health care van to see if the staff had heard from Carlos. A while after that, news came that Carlos' red bike had been sold at a police auction for $32.

The author of the story fears that the lump found on Carlos was cancerous and wound up killing him.

What do you think about this story? What are your thoughts on health care for undocumented populations?

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