The Times West Virginian

Headline News

December 5, 2012

Sick girl sought after being taken from hospital

PHOENIX — Emily has leukemia. She just underwent a month of chemotherapy and had her right arm amputated after suffering complications. Doctors say she is at risk of dying from an infection.

But the sick 11-year-old isn’t in a hospital.

Her mother last week inexplicably unhooked a tube that had been carrying vital medication through the girl’s heart, got her out of bed and changed her clothes. Then she did something police say is even more baffling — she walked the child out of the hospital, the tiny tube still protruding from her chest.

Doctors say the device, if left unattended, could allow bacteria to quickly enter her body, leading to a potentially deadly infection.

Phoenix police are now on a desperate search for the mother and daughter, last seen last Wednesday night on surveillance video leaving Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the mother pushing an IV stand, the small child with a bandaged arm amputated above the elbow walking beside her.

Authorities have no explanation for why the child’s mother — 35-year-old Norma Bracamontes — removed the girl from the hospital before her treatment was complete, but they say it’s imperative she return her immediately. They’re even considering criminal charges.

“Certainly from our standpoint, we are looking at it thinking, is this negligence in failing to provide Emily the proper medical care that she requires?” Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said Tuesday. “They should know by now what is required, what Emily needs, so it baffles us that anyone, any parent with a child like this, with leukemia and an amputated arm, and now you put them in this situation where it’s potentially fatal, we just don’t understand why they would not seek medical treatment.”

Authorities speculate the mother might have been concerned with paying the child’s hospital bill, but her motivation remains a mystery. The family lives a “nomadic” life without a permanent residence, but they have relatives in Arizona, California and Mexico, none of whom have been able to provide police with information about their whereabouts, Martos said.

U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped the girl’s father, Luis Bracamontes, 46, as he crossed into Arizona from Mexico over the weekend, but the man denied any involvement in removing his daughter from the hospital and said he didn’t know where she was.

Martos said doctors, who can’t discuss Emily’s case publicly due to privacy laws, told authorities that when Emily’s mother removed the tubing, she failed to put a cap on the open line leading into the girl’s body. That’s left the young girl susceptible to a potentially deadly infection.

The cap was found in the girl’s hospital bathroom.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said Emily’s immune system is already compromised from the cancer and chemotherapy.

“If bacteria get into the blood stream that can cause a serious infection,” Schaffner said.

The open catheter could serve as a pathway for bacteria, he said, adding that an infection is not only possible, but likely.

“These are life-threatening infections, particularly in young children who’ve had leukemia and chemotherapy,” Schaffner said.

And the longer the girl is away from medical care, the greater the risk of contamination.

If infection does set in, he said, the girl could die “in a few days or worse, hours.”

1
Text Only
Headline News
  • Governor: Closing Boston amid bomber hunt ‘tough’

    Several days after the Boston Marathon bombing, Gov. Deval Patrick received a call in the pre-dawn hours from a top aide telling him that police officers outside the city had just engaged in a ferocious gun battle with the two men suspected of setting the bombs and that one was dead and the other had fled.

    April 20, 2014

  • Everest avalanche reminder of risks Sherpas face

    The rescuers moved quickly, just minutes after the first block of ice tore loose from Mount Everest and started an avalanche that roared down the mountain, ripping through teams of guides hauling gear.
    But they couldn’t get there quickly enough.

    April 20, 2014

  • Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

    A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy.

    April 19, 2014

  • Everest avalanche kills at least 12

    An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving four missing in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak. Several more were injured.

    April 19, 2014

  • Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

    Pro-Russian insurgents defiantly refused Friday to surrender their weapons or give up government buildings in eastern Ukraine, despite a diplomatic accord reached in Geneva and overtures from the government in Kiev.

    April 19, 2014

  • Clinton to Obama: Many parallels

    Thousands of pages of documents from President Bill Clinton’s White House affirm a longtime adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    As Clinton prepared for an August 1994 news conference in which he hoped to build public support for his struggling — and ultimately unsuccessful — health care overhaul, he told his advisers: “A lot of them want to know they can keep their own plan if they like it.”

    April 19, 2014

  • Obama voices skepticism on Russia in Ukraine

    President Barack Obama conveyed skepticism Thursday about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United State and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn’t make good on its commitments.

    April 18, 2014

  • President defending health-care law good for some Democrats

    President Barack Obama’s full-throated defense of his health-care overhaul seems perfectly timed for Democrats who want their party to embrace the law more enthusiastically.
    At a White House news conference Thursday, Obama noted that health insurance enrollments under the new law are higher than expected, and costs are lower.

    April 18, 2014

  • Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions — for now

    In a surprise accord, Ukraine and Russia agreed Thursday on tentative steps to halt violence and calm tensions along their shared border after more than a month of Cold War-style military posturing triggered by Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

    April 18, 2014

  • Boston Marathon organizers confident of safe race

    The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week.
    The actions of the man, whose mother said he had a mental disorder, rattled nerves as Boston prepared for the annual race, but authorities said they did not consider it a security breach.

    April 17, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads