Dialysis Patient Faces Deportation

By: Betsy Goldin
By: Betsy Goldin

A man who has spent almost a decade making Northwest Florida his home, may soon be sent back to Mexico.
But if deported, he will not be able to get the potentially life saving medical treatment he can get here in the states.
James Arumasalam came to Florida nine years on a student visa.
He has gone to school, worked and made the Florida panhandle his home.
“Work and going to school, and sleeping two-three hours a day, I ended up very sick,” said Arumasalam. “The diagnosis was that my kidneys failed."
Sacred Heart hospital graciously donated four weeks of dialysis, but without a kidney transplant, he will need dialysis for life.
He was able to get a job as a health care technician to help pay for continued treatment, four hours a day, three times a week.
After two years of being in and out of the hospital, Arumasalam could not keep up with his classes.
Because of that, he now has a very slim chance of being able to stay in Florida
"I'm stuck. I can't go back and I can't stay here. That's why I made the drastic decision to stop dialysis and be the end of life,” he said. “But the church stepped in and said that wasn't the right decision."
Arumasalam has now hired an immigration lawyer, but on top of medical costs and providing for his family back home, things don't look encouraging.
“When all else fails, the community is the only thing you have left," said Jerry Pohlman, a dear friend and mentor to Arumasalam.


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