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Posts Tagged ‘access to health care’

“Doing No Harm” in an Age of Medical Repatriations: Challenges and Opportunities for Health Professionals – Juliana Morris

June 20, 2012 1 comment

Juliana Morris
Harvard Medical School

How often do doctors cause harm to their patients when they discharge them from the hospital? For a sizeable group of immigrant patients who are “discharged” to their countries of origin each year, the answer may be: more often than not. The story of Quelino Ojeda Jimenez, an immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico, who became quadriplegic after a fall at his roofing job in Chicago, Illinois, is case in point.

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Conceptions of Reciprocity: The Navarro Transplant Case, Organ Allocation and Undocumented Immigrants – Emily Avera

May 14, 2012 1 comment

Emily Avera
TransplantInformers

Organ donors give the gift of life, but the sheer volume of patients hoping for transplants far outstrips donor generosity. How should we make decisions to ensure the equitable distribution of a limited supply of organs? In a system that depends on the goodwill of donors and public trust, this question becomes further complicated when undocumented immigrants seek transplants – especially in the United States, where undocumented immigrants consent to donate organs more often than they receive them. In light of this fact, should citizenship be a substantial consideration? Or should allocation decisions be made according to a claim of reciprocity – i.e., that individuals or groups who are willing to donate are more entitled to receive organs than others?

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When the Ward is Your Mooring: The Human and Economic Costs of Long-Term Acute Care for Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S. – Nora Kenworthy

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Nora Kenworthy
Columbia

recent New York Times article by John Leland recounted the lengthy medical history of Raymond Fok, an uninsured and undocumented immigrant who ended up marooned at New York City’s Downtown Hospital for 19 months after surviving a stroke. Although suffering from chronic health problems, including kidney failure, and initially in need of acute care, Mr. Fok remained in the hospital long after his initial emergency because he had no other place to go.

Without insurance or public benefits, numerous immigrants in the U.S. find similar fates in public hospitals, learning that without chronic or community-based services to assist them in recovery, they cannot be discharged. Rather than qualifying for a home health aide, or getting transferred to a nursing home, Mr. Fok’s status left him in the expensive care of an already cash-strapped public hospital. As Leland writes: “Mr. Fok’s immigration status never kept him from receiving treatment, but it helped make sure that his care would be delivered in the most expensive setting possible and in a place no one wants to spend more time than necessary.” Read more…

The Psychiatric Hospital as Safe House? Strange Asylum for Undocumented Immigrants with Mental Health Needs – Nora Kenworthy

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Nora Kenworthy
Columbia

Over the past few years, stories have trickled into the U.S. national media about hospitals struggling to cope with the burden of caring for undocumented immigrants who lack insurance and are ineligible for benefits. These reports, including a recent series by New York Times reporter Kevin Sack and an even more recent NYT piece by Sam Roberts, feature accounts of chronically-ill patients being removed from dialysis, or ‘repatriated’ to their countries of origin in comas, to be cared for by long-lost and poorly-equipped relatives. As Luis Plascencia wrote on this blog a few years ago, these rare glimpses into hospital decision-making processes indicate that rising costs and non-existent legal protections for immigrants have led to a ‘privatization’ and ‘outsourcing’ of deportation by health care institutions.

To date, this meager public attention has focused exclusively on hospitals treating physical illnesses. Virtually no mention has been made of how psychiatric and mental health institutions handle undocumented immigrants.  Read more…

How Can Medical Anthropologists Contribute to Contemporary Conversations on “Illegal” Im/migration and Health?

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

How can medical anthropologists contribute to contemporary conversations on “illegal” im/migration and health?

Click below to read a newly published commentary in Medical Anthropology Quarterly in which three of AccessDenied’s founders consider precisely this question.[1] We invite your comments and reactions below, and we hope the piece will encourage additional scholars, clinicians, public health professionals, migrant activists, and others to join our conversation here at AccessDenied as readers and/or contributors.

Take a Stand Commentary: How Can Medical Anthropologists Contribute to Contemporary Conversations on “Illegal” Im/migration and Health? Medical Anthropology Quarterly Sarah S. Willen, Jessica Mulligan, Heide Castañeda. Vol. 25, Issue 3, pp. 331–356.

ABSTRACT: Of the estimated 214 million people who have migrated from poorer to richer countries in search of a better life, between 20 and 30 million have migrated on an unauthorized, or “illegal,” basis. All have health needs, or will in the future, yet most are denied health care available to citizens and authorized residents. To many, unauthorized im/migrants’ exclusion intuitively “makes sense.” As scholars of health, social justice, and human rights, we find this logic deeply flawed and are committed to advancing a constructive program of engaged critique. In this commentary, we call on medical anthropologists to claim an active role in reframing scholarly and public debate about this pressing global health issue. We outline four key theoretical issues and five action steps that will help us sharpen our research agenda and translate ourselves for colleagues in partner disciplines and for broader audiences engaged in policymaking, politics, public health, and clinical practice. [unauthorized im/migration, “illegality,” social determinants of health, “deservingness,” public anthropology]


[1] If you do not have online journal access via a personal subscription or academic institution, please email us at contactaccessdenied@gmail.com. To subscribe to AccessDenied, please enter your email address under “Email Subscription” on our homepage. If you are interested in becoming a contributor, please contact us via email.

News Round-Up (1/10/10) – The Dangers of Detention: Illness and Death in U.S. Custody

January 10, 2010 3 comments

Sarah S. Willen
SMU

Just as we were dotting ‘i’s and crossing ‘t’s for this latest news round-up, Nina Bernstein’s front-page article in today’s New York Times, “Officials Hid Truth About Immigrant Deaths in Jail,” hammered home the risks and dangers of being ill or injured in a United States immigration prison.  The piece foregrounds the 2007 deaths – in ICE custody – of Nery Romero, originally from El Salvador, and Boubacar Bah, originally from Guinea.

Bernstein’s reporting was facilitated by the recent release of thousands of pages of confidential documents – among them memos, draft reports, “talking points,” and Blackberry messages – to the NYT and the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act. Read more…