On Friday a lawsuit was filed against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in California by the mother of a 5-year-old Guatemalan boy. The lawsuit is based on the lack of medical care her son received in detention for a serious head injury he suffered before his family was arrested by ICE.
The new lawsuit asks a judge to order that the 5-year-old be transferred to a pediatric neurologist or pediatric neurosurgeon.
The 5-year-old boy sustained the head injury when he fell out of a shopping cart back in December. The boy suffered a fractured skull and bleeding around the brain. About a month after the accident the boy and his family were detained by ICE. The mother, the 5-year-old and his 1-year-old brother were taken to a detention center in Dilley, Texas. The father was sent to a detention center in California.
The 5-year-old’s family and a group of advocates allege in the lawsuit that he is not being properly treated for his injury. The boy has been suffering from severe headaches and is hypersensitive to sound according to his aunt as well as Dr. Amy Cohen, who is working with the family as an advocate. His aunt added that the boy has also started wetting himself. The aunt added that the child’s mother has begged for her child to get proper care, but her pleas have been ignored.
ICE claims that multiple checks have been made on the boy’s condition and no neurological issues were found.
On Tuesday, ICE took the boy to the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio where he was found to have a normal MRI and no signs of continued bleeding in his skull.
The boy was not seen at the hospital by a pediatric neurologist. Records the family’s lawyer was able to obtain claims that the hospital doctors consulted the neurosurgery department and determined that no follow-up was necessary. The report stated that the boy’s MRI was clear.
Cohen states that the family had an appointment with a neurologist before the family was detained by ICE. Cohen adds that even if the initial bleeding is gone it is most likely that an MRI is not enough to determine the extent of his injury.
Doctors the family saw before the family’s detention had determined that the 5-year-old needed a neurosurgery follow-up within four weeks.
On Thursday, Ice issued a statement writing that it was determined that “no issues were present that required the need to elevate the case to another neurological specialist.”
The hospital, that examined the boy for ICE, has refused to make a comment on the situation.
The names of the boy and his family are not being released because the family fears it would immediately be deported to Guatemala where the mother says their lives were threatened.