DULUTH, Minn., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The mother and brother of a comatose 20-year-old Pakistani exchange student injured in a car crash is fighting to keep him in the United States.
Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa has been in a coma at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth since shortly after the accident in November. He suffered head trauma when a car he was riding in with three friends from Minneapolis to the University of Wisconsin-Superior struck a deer in Cloquet.
Bajwa was conscious and talking when he arrived at a local hospital, but went into cardiac arrest after choking on his own blood. He was resuscitated and has been in a coma for three months, breathing on his own.
The hospital asked his mother sign a consent form for his return to Pakistan, but the family fears Bajwa cannot survive the 24-hour trip, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday.
"The whole situation is been tragic and difficult for us," Shahraiz Bajwa, his older brother, told the newspaper in an interview. Shahraiz said his brother has been getting great medical care despite growing medical bills of more than $350,000 and that the U.S. State Department has refused a request to extend Bajwa's student visa beyond Feb. 28.
The family has no health insurance. Bajwa had a travel insurance policy capped at $100,000 for emergency care.
"This is an unfortunate situation and his caregivers are working closely with Mr. Bajwa's family to ensure the smoothest transition possible," a spokeswoman for Essentia Health said in a statement to the newspaper Wednesday.