City on track for record number of “border wall hospitalizations”

KPBS – Doctors at UC San Diego Health said the number of patients who fell from the border wall is on pace to break last year’s record number.

“At this rate, we’re going to meet or exceed the numbers from last year,” said Dr. Jay Doucet, chief of the Division of Trauma at UCSD Health.

Last year’s record number was 270 patients — compared to 49 in 2018 and 99 in 2020. This year, the hospital system is on pace to receive more than 300 patients, according to internal statistics from UCSD Health.

Higher border wall resulting in more serious injuries

UCSD and Scripps Health take turns treating patients who fall from the border. They noticed an increase in both the frequency of border wall patients and the severity of their injuries around the start of the pandemic.

This increase in frequency and severity coincided with the replacement of the 17-foot border wall with a 30-foot wall, as well as the implementation of Title 42, a policy that severely limits asylum to most migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Immigration experts say asylum seekers who would normally be allowed to present themselves at the ports of entry are now blocked from entering under Title 42.

Because that legal pathway into the country is blocked, desperate migrants are more likely to cross illegally by trying to climb the fence.

Doucet, who co-authored an academic report on this new phenomenon, said the combination of the taller wall and anti-asylum policy created the “perfect system” for more serious injuries … read more. 

Gustavo Solis

Gustavo became the Investigative Border Reporter at KPBS in 2021. He was born in Mexico City, grew up in San Diego and has two passports to prove it. He graduated from Columbia University’s School of Journalism in 2013 and has worked in New York City, Miami, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and San Diego. In 2018 he was part of a team of reporters who shared a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism. When he’s not working – and even sometimes when he should be – Gustavo is surfing on both sides of the border.


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