Wednesday, April 14, 2010

International Patient Dumping of Aliens

The Fourth District Court of Appeal in Florida is the only court to rule on a case involving international patient dumping. Montejo v. Martin Mem. Med. Ctr. Inc., 874 So. 2d 654 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004). In that case, the plaintiff was an undocumented alien who was severely injured in an accident. Id. The hospital in which the plaintiff was being treated intervened in the guardianship proceedings to seek court approval to discharge the plaintiff and transport him to a hospital in his home country. Id. The court held that the hospital that flew the patient back to Honduras violated federal hospital discharge regulations because it failed to provide evidence of an appropriate rehabilitation facility in Honduras. Id. at 657. It held that a hospital that accepts federal funds cannot repatriate patients to their home country without proof they are entering a facility that meets their needs. Id. it reversed the holding of the trial court on the grounds that (1) there was no competent substantial evidence to support the patient’s discharge from the hospital and (2) the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to authorize the deportation of the patient to Guatemala because federal immigration law preempted deportation. Id. at 658.

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