Taller border wall between Mexico and US leads to increase in injuries and deaths

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US President Donald Trump waves after speaking and touring a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas (AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump waves after speaking and touring a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas (AFP via Getty Images)

The number of injuries and deaths resulting from those crossing the wall at the Mexican border surged after the Trump administration built a bigger structure, a report has found.

The number of patients arriving at the UC San Diego Medical Center’s trauma ward increased by more than five times since 2019.

The spike came after parts of the wall were raised from 17 feet to 30 feet along much of the border in California.

Following the change, “trauma-related incidents due to falls” went from 67 cases between 2016 and 2019 to 375 between 2019 and 2021, the study found.

"Most of these patients had significant brain and facial injuries or complex fractures of the extremities or spine, with many requiring intensive care and staged operative reconstructions," the physicians wrote.

Most of the patients lacked health insurance and were ineligible for rehabilitation programs or physical therapy, "further lengthening prolonged hospital stays," they added.

Deaths resulting from falls rose from zero before 2019 to 16 after, according to the research letter published in the medical journal JAMA Surgery.

“This is a local public health crisis that has worsened trauma center bed capacity, resulting in staff shortages and has taxed our extremely dedicated health care professionals,” said Jay Doucet, division chief of trauma and surgical critical care at UC San Diego Health.

“It is also a humanitarian crisis in which people are being severely injured or dying at the border, and because this is happening it is impacting available access to trauma care for San Diegans as well.”

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