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charity care

  Charity Care

Charity care at Emory Healthcare

When treatment can't wait for coverage

Making sure patients have what they need

The worst and best of Christmases

We knew how to cure him

At 24, Jose Romanez was the primary breadwinner for his family back in Mexico. He sent them money each week from his work in landscaping or whatever jobs he could get, since he had no papers.

One day, he began complaining of head and neck pain and seemed confused and disoriented. Everyone knew that American emergency rooms would help, so his friends persuaded the job manager to drive him to the closest hospital.

There, doctors diagnosed a brain aneurysm and sent him to Emory University Hospital, where neurosurgeon Michael Cawley clipped the aneurysm to prevent further bleeding and ordered a course of drugs to prevent spasm and control pain. Cawley’s physician’s assistant spoke good Spanish, but when she was out of the hospital, a translator was brought in to explain to the frightened young man what was happening: There was a problem with your head. You are in the hospital. We are with you. We will take care of you. 

Within a week, Romanez was medically stable, but he needed around-the-clock supervision. Emory Hospital social workers located his family in Mexico, who were eager to provide the care he needed.

         
  michael cawley  


The patient was medically stable within a week after neurosurgeon Michael Cawley repaired his brain aneurysm, but he needed around-the-clock supervision. Emory Hospital social workers located his family in Mexico, who were eager to provide the care he needed.



 
         


But how to get him home? Getting Romanez a passport took two weeks. Cawley saw him every day, and the nurses hovered over him. The bill for his care had climbed to almost $70,000 by the time the Spanish-speaking care provider from the medical transportation agency arrived to accompany him on the flight back to Mexico. Emory Healthcare paid for that too, adding another $7,000 to the costs for which neither the hospital, nor the doctors, would ever be paid. The payoff came in satisfaction from a job well done. In Cawley’s words, “He was sent to us, he needed us, and we did our best for him."


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