In August 2010, Quelino Ojeda Jimenez, an undocumented construction worker in Chicago, fell 20 feet off a building while on the job and was paralyzed from the neck down. Unable to pay his own medical expenses, he was deported back to Mexico on December 22, 2010.
But he never made it home. Instead, he was left to languish at a small Mexican hospital that was unequipped to handle his needs. UPI reports that Ojeda died on New Year’s Day:
A young man returned to Mexico by a Chicago-area hospital after a construction injury that paralyzed him from the neck down has died, officials say.
Advocates say Quelino Ojeda Jimenez, 21, spent months in a small hospital in Mexico that did not have the facilities to care for a quadriplegic, the Chicago Tribune reported. […]
“He never even made it to his home,” said Jesus Vargas, a friend in Chicago. “He was always in the hospital stuck to the machine that helped him breathe.”
Ojeda, who was working illegally in the United States, was treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., after a 20-foot fall paralyzed him. The hospital transferred him to Mexico three days before Christmas in 2010.
Ojeda’s deportation followed a heated battle between the hospital and immigration advocates. He was transferred to a Mexican hospital in an air ambulance despite protests from Ojeda and his family that the move would jeopardize his health.
In light of his death, the Chicago hospital that treated him has said it will reexamine its policies for treating international patients.
Ojeda told the Chicago Tribune last February that he feared returning to Mexico because he “need[ed] a lot of things they don’t have.” Tragically, his fears turned out to be all too real.