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Facing Deportation After a Lifetime of Dreams: Marvin's Battle for Care

Thirty years ago, Marvin relocated to the United States from Guatemala to follow the American dream. He settled in Kentucky, started a family, put down roots, and found happiness and financial stability in one of the industries Kentucky holds most dear: horse racing.

It was Marvin’s love for the Bluegrass State’s favorite sport that landed him in the predicament he and his family find themselves in today. Fifteen years ago, Marvin was thrown from a horse and suffered a head injury that led to intermittent seizures in the years since.

Earlier this month, Marvin experienced one of those seizures, causing him to fall down a set of stairs and hit his head. He’s been in a coma at the University of Louisville Hospital ever since.

UofL is the only level I trauma care center in the area, and is well-respected for its level of patient care, so Marvin’s injury and subsequent care should have been well in hand. Except Marvin is undocumented, and has no health insurance. Several days into his stay, UofL informed Virginia that he would need long-term care after he was stabilized – care they couldn’t provide due to his lack of health coverage. The hospital claimed they wanted to avoid the financial losses associated with the level of care needed to treat an uninsured patient. This is the same hospital that reported a revenue of $1.1 billion to the IRS in 2022. 

Instead, they planned to fly Marvin to Guatemala, where he has not lived for thirty years and has no support network, in a process commonly referred to as “medical deportation.” Virginia was faced with a set of impossible choices: consent to the stabilizing treatment and risk never seeing her father again, refuse stabilizing treatment with the understanding that it could result in his health worsening, or disconnect him from life support. She chose to delay stabilizing treatment, which predictably led to his health deteriorating.

After contacting the Free Migration Project and Kentucky Equal Justice Center for help, Virginia has been assured by the hospital that Marvin’s deportation has been put on hold “indefinitely” out of concern for his health. Virginia has also been able to secure short-term insurance through Emergency Time-Limited Medicaid for her father, but these wins, while helpful, are band-aids and not permanent fixes.

Now that the University of Louisville Hospital has granted Marvin a temporary reprieve from the act of elevated kidnapping known as medical deportation, we need your help to continue applying the pressure. Write the University of Louisville and tell them that it’s in the best interests of both Marvin and his family to remain in Kentucky, so that he can receive the best possible treatment with his family by his side.

For those inclined to assist further, donations to Marvin's GoFundMe campaign would be greatly appreciated to alleviate the financial burdens his family faces during this difficult time.


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