Sixty-nine-year-old Wladyslaw Haniszewski had lived in the US for about 30 years, but after the New Jersey resident fell into a coma, he awoke to find himself in his native country of Poland.
The New York Daily News reports that Haniszewski fell victim to a growing phenomenon in which uninsured immigrants are deported by US hospitals that do not want to get stuck paying for their treatment.
“Imagine being carted around like a sack of potatoes,” said Polish Consul General Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, who argues that Haniszewski was placed on a chartered flight while still unconscious, never giving his consent to being shipped to a hospital in a country he had not lived in for decades.
The practice of medical repatriation has reportedly become increasingly common. One immigration advocacy group told the AP in April that it has documented at least 800 cases of individuals being deported from hospitals without consent over the past six years in at least 15 states.