A Mexican family from Yonkers is fighting to keep near them their undocumented relative who fell into a coma five months ago, after the N.J. hospital that has been caring for him said it can no longer afford the medical costs, El Diario La Prensa reported. The article was translated from Spanish.
The family of Román Bermejo, a Mexican day laborer from Yonkers who has been in a coma at a New Jersey hospital for five months, is fighting at this time so he can continue to receive the medical care he needs at a location close to them.
Bermejo, 37, fell into a coma last May after he had an epileptic seizure while working a temp job in Toms River, N.J.
According to his family, Bermejo was aware of his medical condition and took medication every day. However, he hadn’t brought his pills with him because when he accepted the job he didn’t know that several days would pass before he could return to his home in Yonkers.
“On the fourth day without medication, he had the attack while working,” said his sister Hilaria. “He first went to the police and they thought Román was high on drugs because of his convulsions. But when the ambulance arrived he had already gone into cardiac arrest, and afterward the hospital called me and the rest of our siblings to tell us he was in a coma.”
Since then, Bermejo has been hospitalized at the Community Medical Center of Toms River, receiving nourishment and breathing assistance through tubes. The hospital agreed to treat him with emergency Medicaid funds, but because Bermejo is an undocumented immigrant and hasn’t improved in recent months, the hospital can no longer provide care for him or pay for the medical expenses.
“They told us that at least half his brain is completely damaged and that there’s very little chance of him coming out of the coma,” said Armando, another of his siblings. “But we see how he moves his hands or opens his eyes sometimes. We are people of faith; we don’t lose hope.”
Bermejo’s seven siblings that live in the U.S. have been taking turns going to see him, clean him, and take care of him, but they all live in Yonkers and traveling all the way to New Jersey is a big effort.
Now that he has to leave the hospital where he has been for five months, the family is facing a big dilema: the hospital has offered to help them transfer Bermejo by medical airplane to Mexico so that he can be treated in his native country, but the siblings aren’t convinced.
“Almost all of his family is here and we want to try every possible option so he can stay with us,” said Armando. “We’re looking for assistance to transfer him to a hospital closer to Yonkers, so that all of us can help him get better.”
The Mexican Consulate in New York is helpling the Bermejo family. “Román’s case is very complicated and delicate, but the consulate is doing all it can to find the best solution,” said Mario Cuevas, the consul of protection.
“We’ve contacted medical authorities to find him a hospital that can take care of him, whether it’s in Yonkers or in the surrounding area. We still haven’t received a reply, but we’re optimistic. However, everything depends on whether we can find a hospital that will be sensitive to his case.”
The family has also started a petition for support on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Help-Roman-Bermejo/394565193912388.