Hospital Sees Increase in Migrants with Brain Injuries From Border Wall Falls

According to a physician, there has been a significant increase in the number of injuries suffered by migrants trying to enter the United States illegally through cities like San Diego over the past five years.

On Saturday, near Border Field State Park in San Diego, one of the most commonly used routes for unauthorized entrants into the country, a group of migrants suffered injuries when they fell from a border wall. At least 10 individuals were involved in the incident.

According to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, the incident was labeled as a “mass casualty” event, resulting in migrants sustaining broken bones and requiring immediate medical attention. Six ambulances were dispatched to transport the victims to nearby hospitals, while some children who were unharmed accompanied them.

According to Dr. Alexander Tenorio, a resident in neurological surgery at UC San Diego Health, the trauma center at his hospital has seen a significant increase in the number of migrants with severe injuries. In fact, the number of such cases has multiplied tenfold compared to the year 2019, which coincides with the implementation of a 30-foot wall.

According to Tenorio, there has been a noticeable rise in numbers since the border wall was elevated to 30 feet by the end of 2019. Furthermore, he emphasizes that not only are the numbers increasing, but the severity of the injuries has also worsened significantly.

UC San Diego Health, one of the two primary trauma centers designated to treat these particular injuries, has suggested that there may be a higher number of migrants requiring medical assistance than the reported 400 in 2023.

According to John Cihomsky, a spokesperson for Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, there has been no significant rise in injuries related to the border. He mentioned that local trauma centers like UC San Diego and Scripps are better equipped to handle injuries related to migrants.

A study, published in JAMA in April 2022, revealed that the alterations made at the southern border by then-President Donald Trump in January 2017 had unintended consequences. These changes, which involved the construction of 30-foot-high steel barriers along a 406-mile stretch, as well as the addition of 49 miles of new barriers, ultimately resulted in a rise in migrant deaths and trauma center admissions at UC San Diego from 2016 to 2021.

The number of falls recorded saw a significant rise from 67 incidents between 2016 and 2018 to 375 falls between 2019 and 2021, following the construction of the taller barrier.

UC San Diego faced a financial burden of over $13 million in 2021 due to the impact of personal injuries.

According to data released by the city, the foreign-born population in San Diego is approximately 344,000, making up 27.1 percent of the city’s total population. In comparison, foreign-born individuals account for about 13.7 percent of the total U.S. population.

The California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) Executive Director, Masih Fouladi, expressed their organization’s longstanding opposition to the construction and implementation of taller barriers. In an email response to Newsweek, Fouladi emphasized their ongoing resistance to these barriers, which were initially designed and incorporated into existing structures.

According to Fouladi, immigrant rights organizations have consistently emphasized that the introduction of taller, 30-foot border walls during the Trump administration would only amplify the dangers faced by migrants, leading to a higher risk of injury and death. This concern has been further validated by reports from UC San Diego Health and the Mexican government.

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MBS Staff
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