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Migrants falling from border wall with traumatic injuries spikes

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Posted at 7:37 PM, Nov 15, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — UC San Diego Health reports seeing seven times as many injuries related to falls since the new barrier was constructed four years ago.

It stands up to 30 feet tall and it's supposed to stop people from crossing into the United States.

It's not slowing the mass migration we've seen unfold in San Diego.

It's also caused more migrants to be injured than before.

"It's kind of a shocking sight the first time you see a patient who is paralyzed from their injury coming to surgery shackled to the gurney," said Dr. Joseph Ciacchi.

Dr. Ciacchi is a neurosurgeon.

He's operated on migrants for the past 16 years.

"They're a very thankful population. It saddens me that I get the sense that they're not used to being cared for in a way they deserve. All human beings deserve the highest level of care," he explained.

Ciacchi said he's noticed a steady increase in injuries from migrants falling from the border wall

So he and a team from UC San Diego decided to track those numbers.

Here's what they found.

These falls are costing tens of millions of dollars.

The hospital's research shows that more than 380 people have been admitted since the wall was updated.

Their data found it costs an average of 164,078.02.

One of the major costs is people who suffer from traumatic brain injury.

Each person admitted with a TBI costs the hospital $243,658thousand dollars.

Border wall falls cost the hospital more than $60 million over the study period.

"We haven't even spoken of the diversion of resources of the very important mission of a level one trauma center in San Diego County-- to provide that trauma care to the people of the county and people visiting the county. There are not unlimited resources," he said.

He doesn't think there will be an end to this trend.

"My current view is that this could continue to escalate before it goes in the other direction," he said.

Dr. Ciacchi said the team plans to expand research to other areas of the border.