It clearly states "First, do no harm," sure, but the Hippocratic oath is conspicuously silent on the issue of physicians chartering planes and deporting severely brain-damaged patients with mental capabilities equaled to children.
The New York Times reported yesterday that the non-profit Martin Memorial hospital in Stuart, Florida, spent $1.5 million over three years to care for Luis Alberto Jiménez. Jiménez had suffered massive brain damage after a drunk driver collided with him in 2000. Simple enough; he was taken to a hospital where he was treated and stabilized. That's what hospitals do, after all. The big burlap rub is that Mr. Jiménez is a Guatemalan national who lived in Florida illegally and had no health insurance. Since it could find no long-term care facility that would take him, the hospital kept Jiménez as its ward.