Here is a tough case that has hit the airways recently. The headlines go something like "Hospital deports brain-injured illegal immigrant patient". You can't get worse PR than that. In 2000, Luis Jimenez was hit by a drunken driver who plowed into a van he was riding in. He was left a paraplegic with the mental capability of a fourth grader. The hospital saved his life and provided the uninsured man with $1.5 million worth of care. The problem was that no one would take Luis off the hands of the hospital so by law they were stuck with him. For three years they tried to find an acceptable place to send him but were without luck. They then tried his home of citizenship and backed by a letter from the Guatemalan government, got a Florida judge to OK the transfer to a facility in that country. They spent $30K to put him on a charter flight and off he went. Now they are being sued for millions of dollars. The lawyer for Jimenez and his guardian said, "The plan was designed once and for all to stop the meter from running, to stop the expenses ..." There is truth to that and I am not sure that is so wrong. Remember, a judge gave his okay to this. Obviously, I do not have all the details to this case. There also seems to be a little shadiness by the hospital to get this guy out in a covert way because the guardian, who initially supported his trip to Guatemala, started to change his mind. The bigger picture here is exactly what the Jimenez's lawyer was talking about: cost. These are hard decisions. Should the hospital be on the hook forever for this guy? That is one less bed to take care of other patients. As the lawyer for the hospital stated, "Paging Alice in Wonderland, where up is down and down is up and no good deed goes unpunished". He is also right. As we debate healthcare reform, I just wonder if maybe allowing lawsuits like this to happen is really the best way to keep the system fiscally solvent. I think not.