In a bizarre move by hospital officials, a 69-year-old patient was sent back to his home country -- without giving consent. New York Daily News reports that Wladyslaw Haniszewski, an uninsured and undocumented Polish immigrant who has been living in the U.S for 30 years, was brought to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick after suffering a stroke. He woke up Boleslawiec, a small Polish town near the German border.

During Haniszewski’s stay at the New Jersey hospital, Polish diplomats reached out to officials in an attempt to help the 69-year-old, who has been living in a shelter for some time. But the hospital decided to ship him back overseas without telling them – and last week, he was simply gone.

“Imagine being carted around like a sack of potatoes," Polish Consul General Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka told reporters.

The hospital maintains that they followed proper procedures. While U.S hospitals are legally bound to give emergency care to all admitted patients, undocumented individuals can be deported after being stabilized. The little-known process is referred to as “medical repatriation.”

“The individual was informed regarding his discharge plan and care. As the hospital's understanding of the facts differs from the published reports, we are conducting a thorough review of the procedures and communications surrounding this gentleman's care,” said Peter Haigney of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Where most other deportation cases are handled by the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, medical repatriation is wholly within the hospital’s own purview, allowing care providers to rid themselves of costly, long-term patients who lack insurance. However, the process requires the consent of the patient, a family member or a court guardian – a requirement that was not met, according to consul officials.

“It’s an incredibly disturbing case. This kind of action seems clearly illegal and also not ethical, but it’s hard to bring a legal action,” Lori Nessel, director of the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University School of Law, told New York Daily News.

The consulate is currently trying to secure Haniszewski a court guardian, as he is estranged from his two daughters in Poland.