Guatemalan Migrant Father Declined Medical Treatment For Sick Child Before Death

December 26th, 2018
A Honduran migrant protects his child after fellow migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., stormed a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 19, 2018. Reuters photographer Ueslei Marcelino: "The migrants had already broken through the first police barricade on the Guatemalan side of the bridge. After a while, they moved towards the second barricade on the Mexican side. The push by the migrants to enter Mexico had eased and suddenly women and children formed a line and started to walk towards the police. There was a bit of pushing and shoving, and then things started to get increasingly chaotic. It was a march that turned into a protest and ended up in confusion. Of course, it affected me. I'm also a father of a nine-year-old girl. It was impossible not to think about being that father caught up in that panicked situation. After taking the photo, I took others of families coming out of the restrictive cordon created by police. The confusion was brought under control after gas was used to disperse them, and the migrants were pushed back to the Guatemalan side." REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The father of the Guatemalan child who died Christmas Eve denied further medical treatment from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents after the child vomited following an initial examination from doctors, a spokesman from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on a call to reporters Wednesday.

Government officials provided further details, including the startling disclosure of the father’s behavior, regarding the timeline of the child’s deteriorating condition. According to officials, the 8-year-old boy, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, was given multiple medical examinations by doctors before being released with prescription medications. (RELATED: 8-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy Dies In U.S. Customs And Border Protection Custody)


TOPSHOT – Honduran migrants taking part in a new caravan heading to the US, arrive to Chiquimula, Guatemala, on October 22, 2018. ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images

Following the child’s first discharge from the hospital, both he and the father were put into a temporary holding facility where agents were aware of the child’s illness and provided the child with his medication. A few hours after the father and boy entered the facility, the child complained of being nauseous and later vomited.

It was at this point the father declined further medical treatment for his son and told officials he “had been feeling better,” an official said.


During a subsequent welfare check, agents at the facility noticed the child’s condition and transported him to the hospital. The child later lost consciousness during transit and was eventually declared dead just before midnight.

Government officials did not comment on why exactly they think the father denied further treatment for his child, despite him exhibiting more severe symptoms.

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Joe Simonson

Media Reporter