Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'I only wanted the pain to end'

A sad story of cancer and identity theft:
When death starts to claw deep into your pelvis until you want to scream, she said, you'll do anything to stop it—including taking someone else's identity to get $530,000 in medical care.
I should never read the comments attached by readers to news articles like this. The piece is sympathetic toward its subject, a 28-year-old illegal immigrant with three children and end-stage disease. The underlying facts are morally troubling in all sorts of ways -- that theft was the only way a woman like this could get even remotely comparable care; that similar crimes place hospitals and emergency rooms under enormous financial pressure; that earlier stage treatment that might have saved the woman's life or reduced the costs of her care was neglected because of her destitution; it goes on and on. Read a few dozen comments on the story, however, and the picture gets considerably simpler. The woman, like other immigrants, is a thief. She is a "fake Christian." She deserves no sympathy because of her crimes.

Don't get me wrong. Although hers are crimes I myself might well commit if placed in similar circumstances, they also have consequences. But how can you not see the complexity and the pain in this story? How can you not feel the human desperation?

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Consequences that may have had equally devastating results for the family she stole the identity from. One of my good friends, who is impoverished herself, lost her medicaid benefits to an illegal immigrant who used her identity to procure a job at a yacht club in Waukegan IL. My friend, Laura, has a son with CP and he was covered under the state ALL KIDS program. Much to her surprise, she was denied her card and her family was financially devasted because of the actions of this individual. Of course her son received care but many many many letters to the state government, the police and the legislature did nothing to stop this illegal from using her identity. Of course I am not hard hearted when it comes to situations like this but in my nick of the woods is an excellent, top in the State of IL, medical center which treats ALL regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. These funds are from people like me that donate to care for them because we DO care about individuals. This devastated, impoverished, end stage woman, was in the most charitable nation on Earth and could have received the care she needed another way. Her victims were not presented with any options. And my friend whose life was turned upside down by identity theft, was told by the press to be sympathetic to the poor desperate soul who stole her social security number, while her own life, through no fault of her own, was thoroughly violated. The accountability lies with the theif and a system where it has now become unpatriotic to enforce our own laws. A slap in the face to the millions of immigrants, equally poor, equally sick, who entered our country honestly. My granparents, my mother, my Aunt were among these who fled Communism after the War, left their family and every posession behind to come here. My grandfather was tried and convicted as a traitor for helping others escape Czechoslovakia escaped to Germany leaving my grandma behind for 8 months until an American soldier retrieved and guided my grandma, mom and Aunt out of the country in the middle of the night. They were poor for YEARS but made their own way without taking from anyone, even those charities that offered their help. They relied on community and eachother. Such is the difference between victims and survivors. And as this is my family story, I am very proud of it. No sense of self entitlement did they have. Something very much missing among a lot of citizens and non citizens today including my own kids. I am poor too SG. I work two jobs. I am single and I care for three kids alone and I have cancer and a pile of medical bills that need to be paid. But my life belongs to me and I will change it without stealing from someone else or demanding that my government take from another and give it to me. I'd rather be poor and live the lesson of my familys story. THere are worse things than poverty and worse things than death. HOpe you're feeling better by the way and if you ever get into a situation where you need help and care, I'll be the first person to donate to your fund.