AFP (Translated by Raymond McClaren), June 1, 2005
Six Mexican hospitals denied treatment to an undocumented, Salvadoran immigrant whose foot was cut off by a train “because there was nobody who would be responsible for the bill,” the newspaper El Universal reported Tuesday.
According to the newspaper, Raphael (whose family name is being withheld), 32 years old, and a native of Santa Ana in El Salvador, suffered the amputation of a foot as well as fractures in the head and clavicle from falling to the ground from a train on which he had travelled, hanging on, for eight hours. It happened during the passage between Veracruz and the nation’s capital.
But that was not everything. The ambulance took five hours to get to the scene of the accident, which took place at a station in the State of Mexico (Center). When it arrived, it began to transport the injured man, but its brakes did not work, which meant another unit had to come to the scene.
After receiving first aid from a paramedic, Raphael started a pilgrimage through seven hospitals of the State of Mexico and of the Capital, but the first six, including the Red Cross hospital, denied treatment “because there was nobody to be responsible for the bill,” according to El Universal.
Finally, eleven hours after the accident, he was cared for in a hospital in Mexico City, but not before his ambulance broke down and had to be pushed to get to the medical center.
Several tens of thousands of people coming from South America, and above all, Central America cross illegally into Mexico through the country’s southern border to try to get to the United States.
Last year, Mexico expelled 200,000 Central Americans, including 12,000 minors, a third more than in 2003, according to statistics from the National Institute of Migration.