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Ailing girl who left Phoenix hospital says it 'feels good' in Mexico

December 12, 2012|John M. Glionna
  • In an image taken from hospital surveillance cameras, a woman identified as Norma Bracamontes helps her daughter Emily leave Phoenix Children's Hospital on Nov. 28.
In an image taken from hospital surveillance cameras, a woman identified… (Associated Press/Phoenix…)

An Arizona woman remains the subject of a police hunt after she unexpectedly spirited her ailing daughter, an 11-year-old leukemia patient, from a Phoenix hospital last month and apparently is now in Mexico.

A surveillance video showed Norma Bracamontes leading her daughter Emily out of Phoenix Children's Hospital on Nov. 28. The woman had previously unhooked intravenous tubing and left with the girl, rendering her susceptible to further infection, officials said.

Bracamontes on Wednesday told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she blamed the hospital for complications that led to her daughter's right arm being amputated. Adding insult to injury, she said she was being harassed by the hospital over unpaid bills.

"Emily, you're not going to go home because your mom and dad, they haven't filled [out] all the forms, so blame them that you're going to remain here stuck in the hospital," Norma Bracamontes said hospital officials told her daughter.

Speaking from a medical facility that was not identified, Emily said on the ABC broadcast, “I am here, and it kind of feels good because the doctors really love me so much.” 

Emily's father, Luis Bracamontes, had said last week in an interview with NBC News that his daughter was safe and being treated by doctors in Mexico. 

Phoenix police would not comment on Wednesday's TV appearance other than to confirm they are looking for the girl and her mother.

A spokesman for Phoenix Children's Hospital told the Los Angeles Times that police have visited the facility looking for evidence and that the hospital would continue to treat Emily if she is returned.

Joe Kester, a marketing and communications manager at the hospital, said officials could not comment on the details of the case due to privacy laws. “But the safety and well-being of that child is our main and only concern right now,” he told The Times.

In a statement, the hospital defended its treatment of the child.

“We steadfastly disagree with the assertions brought forth regarding the quality of care Emily received and will vigorously defend our actions regarding her treatment," the statement read.

Phoenix police say the girl underwent about a month of chemotherapy and had been treated for an infection that led doctors to amputate her arm. The girl left with her mother a day before she was set to be released.

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