California physicians say the rising number of patients have 'fractures all over their body' after falls from the wall 'like a three-story building.'
California physicians say the rising number of patients have 'fractures all over their body' after falls from the wall 'like a three-story building.'

Border wall injuries: US doctors describe patients with extensive fractures

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California physicians say the rising number of patients have ‘fractures all over their body’ after falls from the wall ‘like a three-story building.’

Rising Cases

In 2023, doctors at the University of California, San Diego’s trauma center treated 455 individuals with severe injuries sustained during attempts to cross the US-Mexico border, indicating a significant increase from the previous year.

Primary Cause: Falls

Ninety-seven percent of these injuries, totaling 441 cases, occurred when individuals fell off the border wall on the US side, according to Alexander Tenorio, a resident neurosurgeon at UCSD specializing in brain and spinal cord injuries.

Incomplete Picture

The reported figures only represent a portion of the injuries near the San Diego border crossing. Many migrants with less severe injuries may not seek hospital treatment, and the dataset excludes children’s cases.

Escalating Human Toll

These statistics underscore the escalating human toll of border crossing attempts, with the trauma center witnessing a steady increase in injuries over the years: 311 injuries in 2022, 254 in 2021, 92 in 2000, and 42 in 2019.

Severity of Injuries

Patients often present with fractures across their bodies, akin to injuries sustained from a three-story fall. Common injuries include broken limbs, abdominal organ damage, facial trauma, and spine fractures, necessitating emergency surgeries like craniotomies and spinal cord procedures.

Challenges in Long-term Recovery

The severity and extent of these injuries often result in prolonged recovery periods, with many patients requiring ongoing medical attention. Assessing long-term outcomes proves challenging, with only 14% of patients returning for follow-up clinic visits after undergoing spinal cord surgeries.

Gender Disparity

In 2023, the trauma center observed a notable shift, with more women than men admitted for border-related injuries, including falls, for the first time. This highlights the evolving demographics and dynamics of border crossing incidents.

Jean Martin

Jean Martin, a seasoned Correspondent Author at USA Guardian Magazine, specializes in transforming complex subjects into engaging narratives. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to truth, her work spans politics, culture, and technology, enriching the magazine's diverse content. Jean's reporting not only informs but also inspires readers, showcasing her belief in journalism's power to drive change.

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