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  4. Woman dies after she is found in medical stress due to heat stroke in Dona Ana County

Woman dies after she is found in medical stress due to heat stroke in Dona Ana County

Release Date
Mon, 08/14/2023

On Saturday July 22, 2023, at approximately 3:12 p.m., Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Paso Mobile Response Team were conducting line watch duties and encountered four undocumented migrants. One of the agents noticed an adult female undocumented migrant, later identified as a citizen of Ecuador, was in medical distress and unresponsive, but still breathing. The agent attempted to cool the female down with water and assured her help was on the way. 

The agent requested emergency medical services and provided his GPS coordinates via radio. American Medical Response and Sunland Park Fire Department - Dona Ana County EMS were requested at approximately 3:17 p.m. and advised they would be responding. Another agent arrived on scene at approximately 3:34 p.m. The two agents then placed the female in the back seat of a marked USBP vehicle and transported her to the intersection of 430 Road and Lou’s Road where Dona Ana County EMS was waiting. 

The agent met with Dona Ana County EMS at approximately 3:38 p.m., and EMS began treating the female while she remained in the back seat of the USBP vehicle. According to the Dona Ana County EMS care report, the female was unconscious and unresponsive, did not respond to verbal or painful stimuli, was breathing rapidly, had white foam-like emesis from her mouth and a tympanic temperature of 107.6 F.  An nasopharyngeal airway was established and oxygen was administered by mask at approximately 3:51 p.m. Vascular access was obtained, and normal saline was administered intravenously at approximately 3:53 p.m. She was also treated with ice packs and sheets soaked in water to initiate active cooling. 

The woman was placed on a stretcher at approximately 3:55 p.m. and transferred to an AMR ambulance. AMR placed the woman on a cardiac monitor which showed signs of sinus tachycardia. AMR determined the woman needed further medical treatment and transported her at approximately 3:57 p.m. to The Hospitals of Providence - Transmountain Campus. AMR monitored vitals, placed six more icepacks around her body during transport and administered another bag of normal saline intravenously at approximately 4:00 p.m. A Border Patrol agent followed the ambulance to the hospital. 

The woman arrived at the hospital at approximately 4:47 p.m. and was initially treated in the emergency room where she had low blood pressure and was intubated while suffering from kidney failure. The woman was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis and at approximately 7:10 p.m. was admitted to the intensive care unit where she remained in critical condition. The hospital advised her blood pressure and heart rate continued to drop and she was not responding to medical treatment. 

Hospital medical personnel informed a Border Patrol agent performing hospital watch duties that the woman was declared deceased by hospital attending physicians due to heat stroke, cardiac arrest, and renal failure at approximately 1:52 a.m. on July 23. 

This incident is under review by Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General was also notified.

Last Modified: Jan 04, 2024