Citizenship status prevents health care funding for comatose man

Evelyn Cornelio, a 23-year-old Phoenix woman, faces a difficult decision regarding the medical care of her husband, Jesus, who lies comatose in an area hospital after collapsing while playing soccer on September 19.

Because Jesus only became a U.S. citizen after marrying Evelyn in April, he does not qualify for the state’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which only provides funding for individuals who have been citizens for at least five years. Because Evelyn cannot foot the bill to keep her husband in the Arizona hospital, she must decide whether to remove him from life support or transport him to a Mexican hospital.

Though the 23-year-old Jesus suffered from heart failure and doctors said recovery is impossible, his wife is holding out hope. She told Fox he has started to move and open his eyes.

Jesus was brought to the country when he was 10 by his parents, each of whom had a work visa, Fox reported.

In another matter related to immigrant healthcare, Lawrence Smith, a detention operations coordinator for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, faces a lawsuit alleging he mistreated a critically ill inmate of a Rhode Island detention center. The suit states Hiu Lui Ng told Smith he was ill, but Smith kept him at the center, where he died of advanced liver cancer in 2008.