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Family: Keep Pakistani patient in US hospital

ADDS CREATION DATE, LOCATION AND BYLINE - This Aug. 7, 2013 photo provided by Shahraiz Bajwa and taken in Washington, D.C. shows Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa, who has been comatose since being injured in a November crash while spending a semester in an exchange program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. His family is trying to prevent the Essentia Health-St. Mary?s Medical Center in Duluth from sending him back to his home country. A hospital spokeswoman said Bajwa won?t be able to stay in the country legally after his student visa expires Feb. 28. (AP Photo/Courtesy Shahraiz Bajwa, Maryam Kamal)

By STEVE KARNOWSKI - Feb. 11, 2014 10:57 PM EST

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The family of an exchange student from Pakistan who has been comatose since a November crash is trying to prevent a Minnesota hospital from sending him back to his home country.

Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa, 20, was spending a semester in an exchange program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. On Nov. 13, he and his friends were driving back there from Minneapolis when their car struck a deer, his brother, Shahraiz Bajwa, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Shahzaib Bajwa suffered severe facial fractures but was talking when he arrived at a hospital in Cloquet. He choked on blood there and went into cardiac arrest, but was resuscitated and transferred to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, his brother said.

The anthropology and sociology major suffered brain damage from the heart attack and remains comatose. Though he can open his eyes, squeeze his mother's hand, shrug his shoulders and has some movement in his legs, doctors have told the family it'll take a couple more years to find out how much more the 20-year-old will recover, Shahraiz Bajwa said.

A hospital spokeswoman said Shahzaib Bajwa won't be able to stay in the country legally after his student visa expires Feb. 28. Essentia has pressured the Bajwa family to sign consent forms to return the man to Pakistan, a flight that would take 24 hours, Shahraiz Bajwa said.

A hospital spokeswoman said Bajwa won't be able to stay in the country legally after his student visa expires Feb. 28.

"If we take him back to Pakistan this is certainly pushing him toward death," Shahraiz Bajwa said. "We don't want him to die in a miserable condition in a third-world country. It's better if he stays here."

It's not unusual for U.S. hospitals seeking to curb high costs to effectively deport foreign citizens back home, even when they're comatose, an Associated Press review found last year. Shahraiz Bajwa said the hospital bill has reached about $350,000.

Hospitals typically pay for the flights for these "medical repatriations," often without consulting any courts or federal agencies, the AP's review found.

Essentia spokeswoman Maureen Talarico said the hospital is making arrangements with the State Department to transport Shahzaib Bajwa to Pakistan.

"This is an unfortunate situation and his caregivers are working closely with Mr. Bajwa's family to ensure the smoothest transition possible," she said in an email.

Shahzaib Bajwa's health insurance policy through his exchange program has a cap of $100,000, and his brother said Essentia has chosen to absorb the costs and not tap that policy so the money would be available for his care in Pakistan.

The family's immigration attorney, Saiko McIvor, said they're exploring their legal options for finding a way for the man to stay.

"It's a really, really sad situation," McIvor said. She said the family, from Faisalabad in Punjab province, is not wealthy, so they'd have trouble paying for his care in Pakistan.

Shahraiz Bajwa said his brother's policy would cover only about three months of care back home.

"We are under huge and immense pressure," he said. "The window of time is very small."

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rbostonbred February 13 2014 at 12:44 AM

Whatever the patients condition is after 6 months, it is how that patient will remain and then go downwards. Infections, bed sores, unavailab medications, too bad. We cannot worrry about every human in the world If we did, we'd all be insane.he was here only part of one semester since this occured in Novemeber 2013 school started in Early September 2013. USA Does not owe him or the family a thing. Maybe some young American woman can marry him and he can get Medicaid. Just a thought.

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IBruzEZ February 12 2014 at 10:09 PM

Who is footing the $350,000 bill he already has? What will that be in 2 years when the find out if he will even recover any function? It is not feasible to bring every sick person to the US just because their country doesn't have the same level of care they might get here. That is a very sad situation, but reality is not fair, is sad.

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twc1100 February 12 2014 at 8:43 PM

Why are we reporting this as a news item??? If they don't want him to go home let his country send a check to the hospital each month. How simple is that. Why would we continue to foot the bill?? How many American are in his country not paying their medical bills??
Seriously, really is this news??

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rbostonbred February 13 2014 at 12:46 AM

his country does not need to send a check every month That is ridiculous and you knew if before you wrote it. No country is responsible for anyone in a coma.

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meemeepit February 12 2014 at 7:17 PM

ARE WE THE MOST IGNORANT ??? he has a VISA??? but we do not DEPORT any any ILLEGAL entrants WEJUST GIVE THEM ANY F- - King things they NEED….WHY ARE so UPSIDE DOWN on everything we do and HOW we do it…..????

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Scifly1 February 12 2014 at 2:43 PM

The article said, "McIvor said. She said the family, from Faisalabad in Punjab province, is not wealthy, so they'd have trouble paying for his care in Pakistan." So...are they paying their enormous bill in America or are the American Taxpayers?
Regardless, if his visa to America is up, it is time for him to go home unless there is some legal way for him to stay here. If they do stay here, they should have to pay the same bills I would if I were in his same medical position.

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coxzuchre February 12 2014 at 8:16 PM

You wouldn't pay the bills, essentially once your assets were used up, medicaid would take over and your care would be assured, essentially transferring the costs to the taxpayer for care. The hospital should not be able to unilaterally deport the student. Deportation should occur only after due process of law----not through a decision of the hospital.

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rbostonbred February 13 2014 at 12:47 AM

so far no one has been billed that amount is the amount that hs been spent on him , so far. maybe you could win the lottery and pay his bills.

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MDiver Gregory February 12 2014 at 1:18 PM

Exchange students are sponsored. The sponser should solve the problem.

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honest_tragedy February 12 2014 at 1:07 PM

This is insane, he is in a comatose state and they want to send him to Pakistan where he will not receive the type of treatment he needs.

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I love Snickers February 12 2014 at 8:31 PM

He won't receive the type of treatment he needs - - - - JUST LIKE most other Pakistanis!!!!!!!!!!!!! By the end of the month he will be an ILLEGAL ALIEN and should be sent home. And if Pakistan can't pay for his continuing coma care then it sucks to be him.

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rbostonbred February 13 2014 at 12:48 AM

we already know that.

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dracura94 February 12 2014 at 12:46 PM

I'd like to tell a quick true story: Wealthy, popular, civic leader with large family is driving top line Mercedes home from downtown Memphis to suburban home. He stops to help an old black man standing next to a decrepit old Oldsmobile with an open hood. As he pulls jumper cables from his Mercedes, another car veers into him and crushes his legs and messes him up horribly. Within months his insurance runs out. All of the nice cars begin disappearing from the circle driveway in front of his home, His wife starts job hunting, but the house is repossesed and the family with four children loses everything including continuation of college education.

DON'T EVE THINK ABOUT TELLING ME ABOUT INJUSTICE.

One more: An EF3 tornado cut through my brother's extremely nice neighborhood in Germantown, TN. Among all the beautiful homes, the only one where fatalities occured was one where a well respected black executive and his family lived. In a neighborhood where there are hundreds of whites and only a handful of blacks live, somehow nature killed a rare example of a well liked successful black family of four was living the American dream.

LIFE IS NOT FAIR. JUSTICE IS A UTOPIAN CONCEPT; IN REALITY IT DOES NOT EXIST.

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rbostonbred February 13 2014 at 12:50 AM

your post is too long i took one glance at it and said nope just a bunch of mularky not reading that crapola.

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car nut February 12 2014 at 12:44 PM

If he was here legally, and paid his taxes, then treat him. But if his legal status becomes illegal, deport him. Every person has the chance to make their status legal, to bad if they didn't act fast enough. Sounds like we already paid for him to go to school -so what, now we have to pay his medical expenses. No wonder we are broke, taking care of everyone but ourselves. I could care less what other countries think of us. Quit looking at the US as a get away and paid life vacation for illegals!

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I love Snickers February 12 2014 at 8:57 PM

His brother Shahraiz Bajwa is quoted as saying. "We don't want him to die in a miserable condition in a third-world country. It's better if he stays here." ????????????????????????? Excuse me????? How the heck is it our fault that his country SUCKS and why is it OUR responsibility for US to be stuck with a comatose kid???? Hey, I'm an actual U.S.A. citizen and if I had a brain injury it would be better (no matter if my insurance was still in effect) if I was sent to John Hopkins Hospital since it is the very best neurology hospital in the U.S. - - - - better or not would the government send me there???? Not a chance in heck. Sorry for his bad luck but he ISN'T a U.S. citizen, he no longer has any insurance, the hospital has ALREADY written off $200,000 of his care, WHY should he be allowed to stay when we don't even know IF or WHEN he will even come out of the coma.

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rbostonbred February 13 2014 at 12:51 AM

he'll be out by february 28th dont worry. There is legally nothing that will keep him here, unless of course you want to marry him, make him an automatic citizen.

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aristocat101 February 12 2014 at 12:24 PM

He should be sent back and the millions of other illegals that are here should be too

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