Suppose someone travelling in the US is involved in an accident, gets treated in an emergency room, and then recovers. They are presented with a bill of thousands of dollars, which they are unable to (or refuse to) immediately pay, and then return to their home country. What happens afterwords?
If this situation happens to an uninsured US citizen, what typically happens is that the bill get sent to a debt collection agency, and may well never be paid, but at least the person is incentivized to pay or settle with the debt collector, as debts can negatively impact one's credit score.
But what happens if the person is a foreigner who never intends to live or work in the US? I imagine that there are potentially two kinds of practical consequences:
the usual issues with debt, i.e. credit ratings and getting harassed by a debt collector,
immigration-related issues, i.e. potential problems with entering the US in the future.
For (1), certainly the person's credit rating in the US will be severely impacted, but that is a non-issue if they never intend to live in the US. But perhaps if the amount owed is large enough, the hospital will put extra effort into finding a debt collector who operates internationally?