The Banderas case was a companion case to an earlier case, which Doyle argued before the U.S. Supreme Court for an immigrant named Francisco Castaneda. Castaneda died after a team of government doctors neglected to treat a lesion that turned out to be cancerous, and Doyle ultimately won a $2 million verdict for the victim’s family.
The pain both Banderas and Castaneda experienced was torturous. Both men were imprisoned, awaiting deportation, and powerless to get medical help on their own.
There is no question that millions of people across the world want to immigrate to America, and in the interest of fairness, everyone should have to go through the system properly and wait their turn. However, just because someone is detained for illegal presence does not mean it is justified to issue that person a veiled death sentence by denying him or her proper medical care.
All human beings deserve proper medical care when they are suffering. To deny human beings treatment, regardless of whether they are legal citizens, violates not only the most fundamental medical ethics, but also the creed of compassion and honor upon which America was built.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is a former Washington, D.C., prosecutor now practicing law and investigative journalism.