Phoenix woman: My husband is medical miracle

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by Crystal Cruz

azfamily.com

Posted on October 8, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 8 at 10:01 PM

PHOENIX -- Standing over a hospital bed at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital, Evelyn Saenz-Cornelio asked her husband why is he crying.

"He's just crying because he is hearing everything that was told to me, he's just emotional," Saenz-Cornelio said.

The doting young wife said doctors told her Jesus Cornelio would probably never wake from a coma after his heart gave out and he collapsed while playing soccer with his little brother last month. His brain was deprived of oxygen for about 13 minutes, long enough to cause brain damage.

"So, today he started to speak more with us. We can understand him more, so yeah it's been amazing for us to communicate with him," Saenz-Cornelio said.

On top of possibly losing her high-school sweetheart, Saenz-Cornelio, 23, said she was told to make plans to move her husband from Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Saenz-Cornelio is U.S. citizen. Her husband is not, although he had obtained an employment authorization card and a Social Security card from the U.S. government and had an appointment for a final interview to get a permanent resident card.

"Because he's not insured, they were telling us he had two choices -- either take him to Mexico because he is a Mexican citizen or hospice could help us take him to our house," Saenz-Cornelio explained.

The couple married in 2010, but Saenz-Cornelio said her health insurance hasn't kicked in to cover her husband.

She calls his progress a miracle.

"Well now, no one has been pressuring us as to what we are going to do now," Saenz-Cornelio said.

Monica Coury, a spokeswoman at Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Arizona's Medicaid program, said federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from health care coverage. Even if Cornelio had obtained the permanent resident card he was seeking, an immigrant must be a legal permanent resident for five years to be covered, she said.

Saenz-Cornelio said her family is planning on paying Jesus' medical bills, now more than $200,000.

The family has set up a fund for donations at any Bank of America branch, under Jesus A Cornelio. The account number is 457006795674.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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