A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who tried to enter the U.S. with her father earlier this month died from sepsis shock, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS released a statement about her death on its Facebook page.
“After completing a days-long, dangerous journey through remote and barren terrain, the child, who according to the father had not been able to consume water or food for days, began vomiting, went into sepsis shock and after receiving emergency treatment from U.S. Border Patrol Emergency Response Technicians (EMTs), air paramedics and emergency room personnel, died,” the department said Friday.
The statement said that during an “initial screening” after Jakelin Caal Maquin and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, were detained on Dec. 6, “the father denied that either he or his daughter were ill. This denial was recorded on Form I-779 signed by the father. At this time, they were offered water and food and had access to restrooms.”
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The statement said that the next morning, as a group of detainees was being transported on a bus, “the father advised Border Patrol agents that his child had become sick and was vomiting. Out of an abundance of caution, agents immediately requested that an EMT meet the bus on arrival at the Lordsburg station.”
By the time she arrived at 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 7, “the father notified agents that the child was not breathing. Border Patrol EMTs began medical care and requested an ambulance. At this point her temperature was 105.9 degrees. Agents providing medical care revived the child twice.”
A helicopter flew the girl to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas, but she died there the next morning, the statement said.
“The initial indication from the Providence Hospital is that she passed due to sepsis shock,” the statement said.
The statement closed with a warning to families.
“As we have repeatedly said, traveling north illegally into the United States is extremely dangerous. Drug cartels, human smugglers and the elements pose deadly risks to anyone who attempts to cross the border illegally. Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk by attempting to enter illegally. Please, we are begging you, present yourselves and your children at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely,” it said.
The DHS investigation is not sufficient for lawyers who represent the girl’s family. They have called for an outside probe that “will assess this incident within nationally recognized standards for the arrest and custody of children. The family intends to assist in such an investigation into the cause and circumstances of Jakelin’s death,” according to CNN.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are also planning to visit the site where she was taken ill, according to WILX-TV.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines sepsis as “the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is a life-threatening medical emergency.”
“Sepsis happens when an infection you already have — in your skin, lungs, urinary tract, or somewhere else — triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death,” according to the CDC.
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