Stroger Hospital

Siblings Battling Terminal Illness Surrendered to Stroger Hospital

Their brother says he can no longer take care of his sick sister and brother, who are undocumented.

NBC Universal, Inc.

An emotional scene played out Thursday afternoon outside Stroger Hospital in Chicago as an adult brother and sister battling a terminal illness were surrendered to medical staff.

Cesar and Bernice Rueda Silva, who are undocumented, both have a condition known as leukodystrophy. The siblings were being cared for by their parents until they recently died from complications from COVID-19.

Their younger brother, Jesus Rueda, stepped in to care for them alone while working full time.

But Jesus now says he can no longer care for his siblings at home.

"I think it is going to be better or them; they are going to get taken care of in the hospital," said Jesus. "We prayed, and I told them pardon me and it was for their good. I feel real bad. I tried to do as much as I can for them."

Pastor Julie Contreras with United Giving Hope counseled Jesus for several months. She said they reached out to several groups for help, including the Mexican Consulate, but so far no one has called them back.

"We bring them to the hospital and ask that they be treated with respect and dignity," said Contreras. "The brother cannot take care of them financially or emotionally. He could not do it anymore. He is our hero because he was honest with himself to say he could not do it anymore. We need some form of humanitarian legalization now so that people can get the healthcare they need with respect and dignity."

Once inside, the siblings were placed in the system and admitted.

Stroger Hospital sent NBC 5 an email stating: "Generally, when patients with complex, non-acute medical conditions present to Stroger Hospital, we care for them until a suitable discharge location is identified. Stroger Hospital is an acute-care facility and Cook County Health does not operate a long-term care facility."

Jesus Rueda said whether his brother sister stay here or are repatriated to Mexico, he just wants to make sure they get the proper care they need.

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