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Anyone actually know the law on this one?


Eric Blair
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According to the story below, a man had medical issues on a cruise ship and was put into a hospital in Mexico. It sounded pretty serious.

When he wanted out, he said the hospital would not release him and physically stopped him from leaving. The bill was US$14,000, which sounds very cheap for the  care the storysaid the man received. But of course, most people don't have that kind of $$ with them on a cruise and most likely the hospital wouldn't take a credit card or check.

A few years ago Spencer McMullen, (Licensed Mexican Attorney) said a hospital can not stop you from leaving, that is like kidnapping or false imprisonment. There was no citation to any Mexican law.

I'm wondering if there would be a difference if the man was a resident of Mexico with assets here.

If the link doesn't work, google it. "Man cruise ship held Mexican hospital unpaid bill"

Here is the story.

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My wife researched the question and found the answer on the website for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Mexico must provide emergency medical help for U.S. citizens, and may NOT stop them from leaving if a bill is not paid. Also, the Mexican hospital may not withhold the Passport of an American citizen for a medical bill.

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1 minute ago, Jreboll said:

Could it be that he wasn’t physically held but they kept his passport or other important belongings until he would pay for his hospitalization?  Your link didn’t work.

Sorry about the link, but see below for what my wife found.

If it were me, I would immediately contact the  U.S. Embassy or consulate.

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12 hours ago, ezpz said:

I had to get an emergency hip replacement in GDL 11 years ago and they accepted my debit card, no problem.

There is a major difference between a debit card and a credit card. Debit card transactions are immediate and can not usually be challenged*, while a credit card transaction may be challenged for a number of reasons and up to 60-days after the date of the first statement you receive showing the charge.

* If there was actual force or duress (gun to head type of thing), that can be challenged, mental/emotional "pressure" is not sufficient to challenge a debit card deduction.

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56 minutes ago, vetteforron said:

Eric, a fair question and good information. I also saw the story and was thinking just let them try to hold me. 

IMO, the best course of action would be to you or someone close contact the U.S. consulate. If you would get into any physical altercation, then the police could become involved and it would be a whole different story and the last thing anyone would want.

My first choice would to get stabilized and get my bumm on the first plane to the U.S. where I have insurance.

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