From Dehydration to Fractures: Medical Issues Faced by People Crossing the United States: Mexico Border


To quantify the number of Border Crossers seen at our hospitals, broken down by diagnoses and age. We used our electronic medical record to identify the number of patients in custody of the United States Border Patrol who were seen at Banner-University: South and University Campuses during the calendar year 2016. 734 patients were identified, and the electronic medical record was used to identify the primary diagnosis and age for each one. We then manually categorized them into groups of common diagnoses. We also compared the number of border crosser emergency department (ED) visits to overall ED visits. Of 734 patients, 77% were male, 60% were between 16 and 40 years of age, and 18% were under age 18 years. They made up 1.3% of ED visits to South Campus, but less than 0.1% to University Campus. The top categories were musculoskeletal trauma (n = 235, 32%), and dehydration and rhabdomyolysis (n = 95, 13%). The age range of border crossers brought to our EDs varies widely, as do their primary diagnoses, although trends can be seen. They make up a 1.3% of overall emergency department visits at South Campus hospital.

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The authors thank the contributions of Bethany Bruzzi MD, and Tracy Carroll PT, MPH.

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Correspondence to Jerome Koleski.

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Koleski, J., Aldulaimi, S. & Moran, E. From Dehydration to Fractures: Medical Issues Faced by People Crossing the United States: Mexico Border. J Immigrant Minority Health 21, 1181–1184 (2019).

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  • International migration
  • Border-crossings
  • Desert climate
  • Wounds and injuries