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Arizona: Comatose Illegal Immigrant’s Wife Fights For Care

Pixland/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- An Arizona woman is fighting for the life of her comatose husband, a Mexican immigrant in the process of becoming a citizen who collapsed playing soccer last week and fell into a coma. Since he is not a citizen, he is facing the prospect of being kicked out of the hospital.

His lack of health insurance and citizenship have put his wife in a difficult position. The hospital has given her one week to decide whether to take him home for hospice care or take him to Mexico for long-term care, according to ABC Phoenix affiliate KNXV.

Jesus Cornelio, 23, was playing soccer on Sept. 19 when he collapsed on the field and was rushed to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. His brain was without oxygen for more than 10 minutes, which doctors say caused severe damage to his brain.

At the hospital on Friday, his wife Evelyn Cornelio, a U.S. citizen, was told that her husband did not qualify for long-term care, KNXV reported. He has been in the United States for most of his life and is in the process of becoming a citizen, but is still an undocumented immigrant and not a permanent resident.

On Tuesday, the hospital gave her a one-week extension until Oct. 4 to decide what she will do with her husband.

“I’m not going to give up on him,” Cornelio told KNXV. “I see how much my husband is trying and not giving up, but all I see now is, who is going to pay for all these expenses?”

In a statement, the hospital said the following: “Banner Health continues to work closely with the Cornelio family as they evaluate the best care options for their loved one, Jesus.  Our focus remains on ensuring that Jesus continues to receive the best care possible. With respect to the family’s privacy we are unable to provide any additional information about this case.”

Even though Cornelio is in a difficult situation and does not yet know what she will do, she said she does know that she is not giving up on her husband.

“All his family is here. All his friends are here. He’s the love of my life. He’s my best friend. He’s my everything,” Cornelio said. “He’s healthy and he’s strong and he’s going to make it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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