In November, a Pakistani exchange student in America suffered a fractured skull when the car he was in struck a deer. When he got to the hospital, Muhammad Shahzeib Bajwa was conscious and able to speak, but soon thereafter he choked on blood and went into cardiac arrest.
Bajwa and his friends had been driving from Minneapolis back to the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where Bajwa was completing a semester abroad, when the deer crashed through the car’s windshield.
The injured student’s brother, Shahraiz Bajwa, has explained that Shahzeib’s heart attack caused brain damage. Shahzeib is currently comatose, and doctors offer differing opinions on the future of his recovery.
In his current condition, Bajwa, 20, can open his eyes, squeeze his mother’s hand, and shrug his shoulders.
However, his problems are far from over. His student visa is set to expire on February 28, and Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Minnesota, where he is being treated, is pushing his family to authorize his transfer back to Pakistan.
The injured student’s brother, Shahraiz Bajwa, has protested that any number of complications can occur during the 24-hour-flight back to his home country. Additionally, Bajwa’s health insurance plan would only cover about three months of care in Pakistan.
To force Shahzeib to return to Pakistan, Shahraiz has stated, “is certainly pushing him toward death.”
“We don’t want him to die in a miserable condition in a third-world country. It’s better if he stays here,” Shahraiz said.
“Some of the doctors were saying that his brain is completely gone, but every doctor has a different opinion. Some of the doctors said ‘No, he needs some time,’” Shahraiz continued.
Maureen Talarico, an Essentia spokesperson, has stated that although the situation is an “unfortunate” one, The U.S. State Department is not renewing Bajwa’s visa.
“St. Mary’s Medical Center has been working with the State Department, which is making arrangements for Mr. Bajwa’s medical transport home,” Talarico said.
She added that “caregivers are working closely with Mr. Bajwa’s family to ensure the smoothest transition possible.”
Meanwhile, Bajwa’s family’s attorney continues to search for ways to keep the injured student in the US; his family remains hopeful that a politician or third party organization will intervene on Shahzeib’s behalf.
Bajwa’s case is not an unprecedented one; a 2013 AP review revealed that at least 800 patients have been deported without their consent over the past six years. Often, these deportations are done with the primary intention of curbing the high costs of patient care.
Photo Sources: CT Post