The Ojeda-Jiménez family in Oaxaca confirmed the untimely death of Quelino Ojeda-Jiménez in Mexico.
By H. Nelson Goodson
January 3, 2012
Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, Mexico – On early Sunday New Year’s Day, Quelino Ojeda-Jiménez, 24, reportedly died of a heart attack while a patient at the Doctor Macedonio Benitez Fuentes (DMBF) General Hospital in Juchitan de Zaragoza, his family announced. Ojeda-Jiménez expired before 2:00 a.m. after a year long struggle with complications as a quadriplegic who was illegally deported to Oaxaca in December 21, 2010 by Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
Ojeda-Jiménez was recently moved to the current hospital from María Lombardo de Caso Hospital in Juchitan. Within the last fifteen days he suffered at least three strokes and had traces of bed sores, including a septic infection, according to his family. Jeromino Ramirez Luis, the Director of the DMBF General Hospital told the Chicago Tribune that Ojeda-Jiménez had suffered from pneumonia and sepsis attributed to the effects of the spinal cord injury.
His spinal cord injury occurred last year, when Ojeda-Jiménez suffered a twenty foot fall while he was working and doing repairs in a building under contract by Imperial Roofing Group, an Atlanta company. On August 30, 2010, Ojeda-Jiménez was admitted to Advocate Christ Medical Center (ACMC) for treatment. After treatment costs accumulated and Ojeda-Jiménez had no insurance, ACMC decided to illegally deport him without his consent or his family approval.
On December 21, 2010, ACMC removed Ojeda-Jiménez against his will from the hospital after the executive ACMC Board decided to forcibily remove Ojeda-Jiménez from hospital care after five months of treatment for a spinal cord injury escalating to $650,000 in medical costs. Ojeda-Jiménez was taken out of the hospital by AeroCare personnel hired by ACMC and placed Ojeda-Jiménez on a plane to Mexico, so ACMC could finally stop paying for his medical treatment. The AeroCare transfer of Ojeda-Jiménez to Mexico cost $60,000, according to Kelly Jo Golson, senior vice president and spokesperson for Advocate Christ Medical Center.
Golson later admitted in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that after several private long care facilities refused to take him as a patient, ACMC executives decided to repatriate (deport) Ojeda-Jiménez without his consent or family authorization. But in December 2010, ACMC officials had persisted, Ojeda-Jiménez was removed from the hospital by permission of Ojeda-Jiménez’ mother, which later turned out to be false.
Joseph Cece, AeroCare CEO in Sugar Grove told the Chicago Tribune that the doctors at ACMC and in Mexico had approved the transfer of Ojeda-Jiménez to Mexico.
To Cece, it was a successful mission. It sure was for Cece, his company profits from illegal deportations like in the Ojeda-Jiménez case. Doctors have no legal authority to transfer any patient to any foreign country without the patient’s consent or family authorization and Cece should know better.
The actions taken by both Advocate Christ Medical Center and AeroCare in Sugar Grove are deemed illegal by federal standards and federal immigration laws, which only the U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement can initiate deportation hearings and removal. The lack of accountability by local, state and federal government to penalize a private company or hospital for illegally deporting someone to a foreign country continues today.
ACMC issued a statement on Tuesday, indicating that they were working with adocacy groups in changing policies concerning transferring patients to other countries like the Ojeda-Jiménez case. But the fact remains, that it’s illegal to forcibly remove someone from the U.S. without federal due process of law concerning undocumented patients.
ACMC receives some type of federal funding, thus batantly violating the civil rights of a patient by unlawful deportation should revoke any federal funding, license to operate and a Congressional investigation to the actions taken by ACMC should be launch, according to Hispanic community activists.
To this date, the Mexican government has yet to provide information about who approved the legal documentation needed to allow ACMC and AeroCare to transport Ojeda-Jiménez into Mexico. The Mexican Consulate in Chicago has said, it didn’t know that ACMC or AeroCare were going to deport Ojeda-Jiménez, but the consulate admitted that Ojeda-Jiménez had refused to return to Mexico because of inadequate medical attention in that country for a quadriplegic in his condition.
The Chicago Mexican Consulate affirmed that between 10 to 15 patients suffering from various medical issues are being deported annually. In the Ojeda-Jiménez case, ACMC did not submit the required documents to be allowed to transfer a patient into Mexico. The Mexican government needs to assure that undocumented patients are authorizing their own transfers before allowing their re-entry into Mexico.
The Ojeda-Jiménez family in Mexico and several members of the Chicago Hispanic community involved in this case are considering legal action against both ACMC and AeroCare.
Reynaldo G. Cruz, of Chicago who has been in contact with the Ojeda-Jiménez family wrote in an e-mail that a fund collected resulted with a balance of $4,070, which will be sent to Mexico to help with the Quelino Ojeda-Jiménez funeral expenses.
Ojeda-Jiménez was laid to rest on Tuesday at a local cemetery in Monte Santiago Ocotepec, Oaxaca.
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Quelino Ojeda-Jiménez, while at Advocate Christ Medical Center before being deported to Mexico by the hospital.