Border Wall Causes Serious Injuries, Tucson Doctors Say

Linda Valdez, AZ Central, May 24, 2013

There are hidden costs to those towering walls that some in Congress still think are insufficient to secure the southern border.

The costs are paid by you and by people that Dr. Lynn Gries says are “depersonalized and seen as some sort of enemy.” She’s a trauma surgeon at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson.

And yes, she’s talking about people who get hurt trying to cross the border illegally.

The most seriously injured are brought to UAMC, a Level 1 trauma center.

Gries says, “It’s awful to watch.” But she also says you need to look a little closer at the unintended consequences of border policies.

“We can’t make good decisions unless we are aware of this,” she says.

UAMC takes care of about 170 border crossers a year who are too ill or severely injured to be handled at local hospitals. This includes people found near death in the desert and those who were packed into unsafe vehicles that crashed.


“The wall is a constant source of injuries,” says Dr. John T. Ruth, head of orthopedic surgery at the UAMC.

The border fence between the twin cities of Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, ranges from 18- to 30-feet high. People still try to get over it.

Gries says the peak year for injuries related to the wall was 2010, when 60 people were brought to the hospital with shattered bones, spinal injuries and bodies “crumpled like a beer can.” Since 2007, the number consistently has been in the range of 30 to 50 people a year.


About six people a year wind up paralyzed. Once stabilized and returned to what may be a rural home in Mexico, they will be well cared for by family, says Ruth. But it’s “almost a death sentence.” {snip}


Ruth said hospitals have both a legal and moral responsibility to care for the injured. The charges — some compensated and some not — have increased five- or six-fold since 2003, according to figures Gries has been compiling. That’s your hidden cost.

“We have to figure out a way to prevent this,” Ruth said.


Gries says: “We have to take some ownership of what our policies are causing.”

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  • Puggg

    Okay, then send Mexico the bill.

    We know the reason the border jumpers still try to jump the fencing and walls, in spite of the known injury risks, is that they’re trying to play the Barrio Lottery.

    • The__Bobster

      In a lot of places, you can step over the fence, despite the lies of Botoxi and Swinestein.

    • Oil Can Harry

      We MUST tear down the border walls because illegals are getting injured climbing them.

      We must also tear down the walls and barbed wire fences that surround prisons so the inmates won’t get injured scaling them.

    • me

      Linda Valdez…..the writer of this ‘opinion’ piece….she needs to be catapulted back over the border.

  • Luca

    This simply tugs at my heart strings. These poor, disadvantaged, unfortunate, unprivileged, people simply are not aware that the laws of gravity exist on this side of the border too.

    • Erasmus

      I envision future physics problems for patriotic young Americans. If Pedro jumps over the border fence at 30′ up, given that s=(1/2)at^2, how long before Pedro hits bottom? How fast will he be traveling when he hits? Which bones will he break? Show your work.

    • A Freespeechzone

      Just transport the injured to the mexican side of the wall…let THEM deal with the cost…

  • So CAL Snowman

    Obviously gravity is racist.

  • MekongDelta69

    I’ve got an idea…

    Don’t try to hop the damn fence.

    Wow – that was easy. I think we’re done here…

  • The__Bobster

    Should I have sympathy for the bank robber who shoot himself in the foot? After all, he was seeking a better life for himself and his family.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Yeah but the bank robber eventually you know, leaves the bank.

  • bigone4u

    There’s a silver lining to every silver cloud: The seriously crippled won’t be trying that again. Plus there’s an extra added bonus. All their amigos who see them limping along all hunched over get a reminder that border jumping is NOT such a good idea. Win-win.

    • Eagle_Eyed

      They also won’t be able to drive drunk, take our jobs, or breed like rabbits after these horrendous injuries. Maybe we could build some moats with alligators…

  • 48224

    Poor babies should sue Uncle Sam. They’d probably win.

  • WR_the_realist

    Cry me a river. If I injure myself doing something both stupid and illegal is the left or the media (but then I repeat myself) going to feel sorry for me?

    • mikebowen55

      That depends. Are you a non-White?

  • Bobby

    Really, is that what the doctors say? So the doctors took time off of their doctoring and went to the nearest local tv, radio, station,etc. to complain about the fact that the wall causes serious injuries? I think not. I smell the usual open borders, ethnic power groups, ACLU,etc.etc. involved in all of this.

    • edie

      political correctness + unrealistic over-tolerance

      will be the death of us.

      • Erasmus

        The continued feminization of America?

  • zone

    Sharpened vertical spikes on ground of US side may also be helpful.

    • StillModerated

      I favor the Vietnamese excrement-smeared punji stick method myself. They are much cheaper!

    • Golly’s Favourite

      With big fish hook barbs. Can’t have them extricating themselves and running about willy-nilly getting blood all over the place…

  • APaige

    If they are getting hurt scaling the wall and going to a hospital in AZ-the wall is not high enough. They should be hurt falling back to the Mexican side.

  • White Mom in WDC

    Solution: don’t treat them.

  • CaptainCroMag

    Well obviously the problem is that the fence isn’t good enough. These invaders wouldn’t be suffering injuries if we had a proper wall that was impossible to scale.

    • jane johnson

      Who built these fences anyway? The same people who built the levees around New Orleans?

    • john in Germany

      I don’ think I’ve heard of Israel having that problem with their wall.

    • Golly’s Favourite

      Razor wire and electricity…

      • Golly’s Favourite

        And flame-throwers…

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    It’s like the burglars who sue property owners when they’re bitten by guard dogs.

  • Homo_Occidentalis

    I think we should dig a twenty foot ditch with steel stakes at the bottom on our side of the fence. That would give these rats pause before trying to hop it.

  • Homo_Occidentalis

    “We have to figure out a way to prevent this,” Ruth said.

    No. We. Don’t.

    • NordicHeritage

      I wonder which tribe dr. ruth belongs to?

    • Eagle_Eyed

      If we placed land mines near the border I’d doubt they’d injure themselves falling off the fence. Food for thought.

    • Erasmus

      Why do Americans have to be concerned about border jumpers crippling themselves, and yet the border jumpers need have no concern about violating US sovereignty?

      Dr. Ruth is an idiot: Her argument is tantamount to someone demanding compassion for the burglar injured during a home invasion or an assailant shot in self-defense by the would-be victim while demanding no compassion for the intended victim.

      Sorry, Dr. Ruth. No compassion from me.

      (Read the comments at the bottom of the original article. Almost everyone sees a lot more clearly than Dr. Ruth.)

  • blarg

    Indeed its unintended consequence, the unintended part is that they made it over or past !

  • Mr. E

    Good. Build the wall higher so the injuries are greater.

    Create as many disincentives as possible for illegally immigrating to America.

    • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

      It seems possible to set up a high voltage “zapper” that would activate when touched, throwing the fried mestizos a hundred yards or so south. Where’s the will?

  • NYB

    I’m not hearing similar complaints from Israel.

    Their new fence system is operational (paid for by American taxpayers, who assume as additional debt each year the $4 billion in annual transfer payments to the proudly patriotic ethno-state).

    • Erasmus

      But the US isn’t chosen.

    • Eagle_Eyed

      Really? The Palestinians turn anything Israel does into a human rights violation worse than the Reign of Terror. The only difference is the Israeli media isn’t on the side of its people’s enemy.

    • Bossman

      Israel neighbors are all hostile to her. Mexico, on the other hand, is a trading partner and friendly neighbor of the USA.

      • Erasmus

        Really? What about Jordan and Egypt?

        While we don’t have open hostility with Mexico, I’m hard pressed to call them a “friend”. Flooding our country with their trash and drugs hardly seems like a very friendly thing to do. (Of course, trade with them does benefit our “elites,” while our own citizens pay the price of our friendly relations with them.)

      • Vyncennt

        So you believe Israel’s fence was constructed to prevent the militaries of enemy neighboring countries from invading?

        That’s right…it was not. It is to prevent the ordinary citizens of those neighboring countries from illegally immigrating to, and in some cased bombing, Israel.

        If the Soviet Union of old shared a land border with the US, do you really think we’d build a FENCE to secure our border? Use your head man.

      • NYB

        More Americans are killed by Mexican drunk drivers and criminals than there are Israelis killed by terrorist infiltrators. America needs the fence.

        • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

          This is all too true. I know of many cases, just personally where white Americans have been attacked, raped, robbed, burglarized, and murdered. This is normal if you lived in California from say 1980 to 2000. It was a war of conquest and whites lost.

          • Erasmus

            There is a war on, and our “leaders” are letting America’s citizens be attacked and stolen from. Our government is NOT our government. We truly are an occupied nation.

        • Golly’s Favourite

          America needs rifles aimed in a southward direction…

      • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

        Write – “friendly” The cliche’ “With friends like this,”….

    • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

      STFU, we give Egypt a lot more – and paying for that wall is indirect at best. If Mexico were firing rockets into U.S. territory for just one WEEK, we would have invaded and taken over long before now. Do you think you have a high IQ? Use it.

      • Wayne

        Jews are over 80 percent of the population and rising, thanks to policies that advance it. Why should America pay one red cent to Israel or Egypt???

      • Golly’s Favourite

        Mexican army tanks have been arrogantly rolling more than 100 miles north of the U.S. border for years without government permission, yet the Feds still do nothing.

    • Golly’s Favourite

      Actually it’s much higher than that. Even 1998 it was already at the $10 billion per year mark.

  • IstvanIN

    I would use a catapult and just let them fly back over to Mexico, regardless of their physical condition.

  • RisingReich

    We have NO moral obligation to these invaders other than to take them back to Mexico and drop their “crinkled” bodies just the other side of the border and let them rot.

    Oaths to “humanity” be damned at this point, because the “humanity” in this story doesn’t recognize “humanity” in the White context the term is always used in.

    At some point – people need to get off of this “compassion for humanity” garbage and get real about what is going on.

    • Eagle_Eyed

      Well liberal compassion goes only one way, of course. Point out the young girl who was killed by an illegal driving drunk, the young white man construction worker whose job was undercut by the illegal, or the hospitals and schools overrun trying to support the illiterate, disease-ridden invader (at the cost of honest, hard working white Americans) and the liberals suddenly have no compassion for humans.

      • mikebowen55

        They are simply too White.

        • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

          No, they are too Christian.

    • mikebowen55

      We don’t even have that obligation to them. As far as I am concerned the only moral obligation this government has is to rid the nation of these invaders in the most cost effective and speedy manner available and I assure you that is not dropping them off on the other side of the border. The only obligations the government truly has is to it’s citizens. End of story.

      • Golly’s Favourite

        The true definition of national defence.

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    How can liberals feel sorry for these people? How is it even possible at this point? They chose to try to illegally jump the border fence. They knew it was illegal and risky. Let Mexico pay for their hospital costs.

  • Woodsman

    You would think that these issues would discourage illegal crossing. Isn’t that wall doing exactly what it was intended to do?

  • thoughtcrime

    It is shame the border wall doesn’t cause the following:

    fatal AR15 bullet wounds

    fatal land mine wounds

    fatal trained attack dog wounds

    fatal head shots from sniper rifle wounds

    fatal dead fall wounds

    Just to name a few “injuries” that should be on the list.

    I still find it surreal that during one of McCain’s tours of a border town a wettie scurried over the wall and landed directly in front of him and his chums as they walked along it. I can imagine their stomach doing flip flops as they tried to suppress their embarrassment. Afterall they know that we dont have an infestation erm I mean immigration problem.

    I suppose it was akin to watching roaches crawl along the ceiling in a diner and seeing them fall one by one into a big pot of chili that is being cooked in the back and served up to guests…for free (as you realize you just finished your third bowl)

  • Billy Corr

    The border fence on the Mexican border is one of a number in the contemporary world; Israel’s fences, the incomplete fence between India and Bangladesh, the fence built by Malaysia on the Thai border and the fence under construction on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen.

  • Erasmus

    The costs are paid by you and by people that Dr. Lynn Gries says are “depersonalized and seen as some sort of enemy.” She’s a trauma surgeon at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson.

    If the costs are paid by me or any of my fellow citizens, then start forcing Mexico to pay for their care. If you don’t want to do that then stabilize them and drive them in an ambulance to Mexico and charge Mexico for that.

    I don’t see them as the enemy, but that doesn’t mean I think I have a duty to them beyond making sure they remain safe staying in their own country. If there’s any enemy, it’s all the people in our government who encourage their lawlessness, the people who employ them illegally and private Americans who aid and abet this invasion.

    Gries says, “It’s awful to watch.” But she also says you need to look a little closer at the unintended consequences of border policies.

    By her logic this twit should also advocate getting rid of cars, buses, trains, airplanes and all other modes of transportation. People are killed by them all the time. “Won’t someone please think of the children!” (*sob)

    The border fence between the twin cities of Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, ranges from 18- to 30-feet high. People still try to get over it.

    Then clearly we need to raise it higher. (BTW, how’s that Israeli wall so many of the supporters for amnesty are in full support of?)

    Gries says the peak year for injuries related to the wall was 2010, when 60 people were brought to the hospital with shattered bones, spinal injuries and bodies “crumpled like a beer can.”

    We could just leave their bodies lying there as a stark warning to other would be triers.

    Ruth said hospitals have both a legal and moral responsibility to care for the injured. The charges — some compensated and some not — have increased five- or six-fold since 2003, according to figures Gries has been compiling. That’s your hidden cost.
    Ma’am, I really don’t care. All actions have consequences, and I feel no more sorry for them than I do for a burglar injured robbing a home or a punk who gets blown away trying to commit assault.
    Are these clowns for real? When we see Americans unemployed, our cities going to hell in a hand basket and our social services going bankrupt because of the demand now placed on them, we’re supposed to worry about someone who cripples him/herself trying to sneak into the country? Gimme a friggin’ break. I imagine most countries shoot to kill people who try to jump over any border wall they’ve put up.
    Only in America could someone be so “civilized” that common sense has been completely bred out of them.
    If anything we need to build the wall hire, and might I also suggest as improvement that we extend outward toward the Mexico side a long slippery metallic lip or curtain similar to the ones used to deter squirrels from getting at bird feeders?

  • Erasmus

    Someone needs to ask Sra. Valdez about México’s southern border, with Guatemala. There Mexican soldiers posted in guard towers shoot anyone who even comes near their border wall.

    • Bossman

      That is not true at all. Mexico and Guatemala are two friendly neighboring countries that are linked by free trade. Such a scenario that you describe could happen only if the countries had declared war on each other. I’ve seen recent videos of what is happening there. The reality is that most Mexican border patrol ignore border crossers because they don’t have the resources to capture and apprehend all of them. They also know that the Guatemalans are really heading North to the USA.

      • Erasmus

        That’s not the way the Guatemalans tell it.

      • Vyncennt

        I’ve worked on jobs with crews of Mexican stucco contractors and crews of Guatemalan carpenters. They absolutely detest each other. It’s rather amusing, assuming you’re not Mexican or Guatemalan, that is.

        Perhaps doing a bit of hands on research on the subjects you preach about, as opposed to reiterating liberal dogma you’ve absorbed through leftist websites, would better serve you.

  • DiversityIsDeath

    It’s been said that the liberalization of a culture is essentially its feminization. We are now supposed to feel sorry for our enemies. We are supposed to feel guilty for the criminals who get hurt invading our nation.

    • Bossman

      So do you want to return to the days of the Caveman? Back to the days of the Primal Hordes? Life back then was nasty, brutish and short.

      • DiversityIsDeath

        I don’t want what you want, that’s for sure. You are obviously enemy of White Christian people who deserves to be slaughtered without mercy the same way as the invading enemy hordes you defend. Anyway, what are you doing at AMREN? Trolling? Trying to plant seeds of white guilt here and there, like a nice little anti-white should? Sorry, we fed up racially aware Whites are impervious to your played out leftist tactics here.

        • Bossman

          I’m here to shed light on the darkness of ignorance.

      • Erasmus

        Disaster and tragedy usually ensue because of a fault carried too far. Our “tolerance” and compassion for everything will be our undoing; not our severity.

        The mojados know our “compassionate” leaders haven’t the gonads to secure the border short, and a 2nd amnesty will be a dinner bell for the “rest to come on down.”

        If life in the US becomes “nasty, brutish and short,” it will be because the US has been turned into a 3rd world cesspool through a naively compassionate and “virtuous” immigration policies.

      • Vyncennt

        Life is nasty, brutish, and short in every black and Hispanic ghetto. The number and size of these ghettos in this country are growing each year.

        We are “returning” to what you abhor via the policies you and your brethren advocate for.

      • Dr. X

        Life still is nasty, brutish and short if you’re a white baby in an abortion clinic.

      • IstvanIN

        The end of white society is the end of civilized society. If you enjoy living in a modern, liberal, open, peaceful society you should be the first to become a WN.

      • NYB

        One should not be so open minded that their brains fall out. – C.S. Lewis

  • mobilebay

    We HAVE figured out a way to stop the injuries, Dr. Ruth. It’s simple. When illegal aliens, who break into our country, learn we are a sovereign nation and stay in their own homes, the injuries will stop. Problem solved.

    • Bossman

      Her job is to take care of injured people. She is not a politician so your advice is useless.

      • mobilebay

        Just answering the doctor’s question, Bossman. And it is not our job to take care of the people who break into our country. If Mexico were not one of the most corrupt countries in the world, it would take care of it’s own. It’s leaders know, however, that we have some pretty corrupt people too that profit from having our country filled with people who disregard our laws. We need another Eisenhower who had the courage to demand that the lawbreaker leave. We are now officially the world’s dumping ground

      • Erasmus

        And although she may be a skilled physician, her understanding on immigration, border control and personal responsibility is but that of an amateur, so her pontificating is but a child’s prattling.

      • Wayne

        She became a politician when she open her Bolshevic pie hole. She needs to have a to have a wet tomale shoved down her disgusting rotten windpipe.

  • mikebowen55

    I would much prefer land mines as that is what they are designed for. It’s difficult enough to cross the desert but imagine trying cross by hopping on one leg with what’s left of your other leg bleeding profusely. Please wake me, I’m evidently dreaming.

  • Paleoconn

    When I was a kid and I saw spiky metal protuberances on the strip between up and down escalators, my father explained that it was for kids who like to slide down. I was horrified cause I misinterpreted it as punishment versus what it really was, deterrence. The people who put that stuff don’t do it to hurt, they do it to prevent. A kid sees those spikes and never slides down again.

    Same thing with this wall, climb at your own risk.

  • Paleoconn

    They should Mexicans to build the wall so they can blame any injuries to Mexican workmanship.

  • r j p

    …. people were brought to the hospital with shattered bones, spinal injuries and bodies “crumpled like a beer can.”

    Is Gries describing the border-hoppers or the people the border-hoppers uninsured vehicles hit after the border-hoppers get drunk?

  • A Freespeechzone

    Just watch, the illegals injured ILLEGALLY trying to scale the fence to keep them out will likely sue for damages…or, social security disability for life.

    When they are injured–take them to the Mexico side of the fence and let THEM deal with their injuries and the cost….

    No sympathy or mercy….criminals who want to steal from Americans do not deserve any..

  • Scott894398

    Who pays for nursing Humpty Gonzalez back to health after he tumbles over the wall? We do, but that should change. We should bill the government of Mexico for the medical costs of these fence jumpers. If they don’t pay, kick their squat monster diplomats out and auction off their embassy land to the highest bidder.

  • Bob Jenkins

    “We have to figure out a way to prevent this,” Ruth said.

    If we made the walls so unscalable immigrants didn’t even TRY climbing them, these “doctors” would be screaming even harder.

  • cecilhenry

    Camp of the saints.

    We should be shooting at those trying to cross the border illegally.

    they are parasites, invaders and are here to take something.

    There is somebody here, a culture and race and society here.

    We must be protected.

  • MarcB1969

    Illegal invaders need amnesty from gravity.

  • Alexandra1973

    Would it be wrong for me to say I feel as much sympathy for these border-jumpers as I feel for someone who gets shot while trying to cause harm to someone?

    That is, none?

  • If these walls are “causing” injuries, they must be considered “attractive nuisances” the same way that swimming pools are. There is only one logical thing to do about the border walls in this case: Put fences around them.