Wilmer Josue Ramirez Vasquez, the Guatemalan toddler who died in an El Paso hospital in May after spending three days in Border Patrol custody, was suffering from “multiple intestinal and respiratory infectious diseases.” According to an El Paso County medical examiner’s office report, Wilmer had influenza, parasites, and E. coli bacteria.
Wilmer and his mother were detained for three days, by the end of which he was sick enough to be hospitalized for weeks before his death—suggesting that he should have been given medical attention immediately. And those three days may have made him sicker. Lawyers say he and his mother were “subjected to inhumane conditions” by Border Patrol, “including exposure to extreme temperatures, being forced to sleep outside on the ground, and other terrible conditions of confinement.”
An El Paso pediatrician suggested that Customs and Border Protection may not be screening adequately for conditions that are common in Central America but not in the U.S. “If you bring me a kid from El Paso who has diarrhea, I’m thinking viral gastroenteritis. But if I get a kid from Guatemala I have to start thinking these other bacteria, parasites, cryptosporidium,” said Bert Johannsen. That could have meant a delay in Wilmer’s treatment. Not that CBP cares, since it’s obviously trying to make these kids sick and delaying treatment on purpose.