Deported while unconscious

The email below is from Christian Ucles, a CREDO activist in Des Moines, IA. Christian started a petition on, where activists can launch their own campaigns for progressive change.

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Tell UnityPoint Health: Stop denying undocumented immigrants ethical medical care

Dear 5849376,

In 2008, Jose Rodriguez-Saldana and Jacinto Cruz were badly injured in a car accident and taken to Iowa Methodist Medical Center, a hospital now run by UnityPoint Health. But because the two men were undocumented immigrants and there was doubt about whether insurance would pay for long-term care, the hospital loaded the comatose men onto a plane to Mexico. After waking up in a hospital in Veracruz, Rodriguez-Saldana and Cruz received minimal care and continue to suffer with severe disabilities. Rodriguez-Saldana believes that Iowa Methodist Medical Center "wanted to disconnect me so I could die."

Jose and Jacinto are not alone. In just the past six years, hundreds of other injured immigrant patients have also been shipped home in unlawful deportations by hospitals afraid they won't be paid for continued care. Often unconscious and unable to give consent, patients wake up to find they've been effectively deported without due process.

What happened to Jose and Jacinto is wrong. After hearing their story, I started my own campaign on CREDO's new site that allows activists to start their own petitions.

My petition, which is to Dr. Mark Purtle, vice president of medical affairs for UnityPoint Health, asks the following:

Stop violating the human rights of sick and injured patients who are undocumented immigrants. Ensure that these patients are only sent to their home countries after ethical duties are met.

End all medical repatriation by your hospitals except when patients are informed of the potential immigration consequences, when it best serves the medical needs of patients, when the availability of long-term care at destination hospitals is confirmed, and when patients or their families give informed consent.

As a child, I myself came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant, but I worked hard to became a citizen and believe all other people who seek a better life in this country should be treated with dignity and respect. No person should be shipped home with inadequate care simply because of their immigration status.

Cutting costs by violating the rights and due process of undocumented immigrant patients is shameful, and so is hiding the practice in the shadows. It's time for UnityPoint Health to ensure staff at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and all its facilities engage in medical repatriation only when all ethical duties to the patient have been met.

Click here to learn more and add your name to my petition to Dr. Mark Purtle, vice president of medical affairs for UnityPoint Health, to demand UnityPoint Health stop violating the rights of patients who are undocumented immigrants.

Thank you for your support.

Christian Ucles

Sign the petition ► helps activists like you make progressive change and fight regressive policies by creating online petitions. Click here to start a petition today.

This petition was created on, a new people-powered platform that allows activists to start and run CREDO-style campaigns.

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