The father of an 8-year-old Guatemalan migrant declined additional medical treatment for his son just hours before the child died, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The boy, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, was being held in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody with his father after entering the country illegally. He died on Christmas Eve on the way to the hospital, after having been treated at the hospital earlier in the day.
How did this happen? Alonzo was first taken to the hospital Monday and diagnosed with a cold. He also had a fever. He was given medication and discharged.
Later in the day, he complained of nausea and vomited. Alonzo's father told officials that, despite the vomiting, he believed his son was feeling better and said he didn't need anymore medical attention at the time, The Daily Caller reported.
Officials checked in on the boy again later, and noticed that he had gotten worse. They took him back to the hospital, but Alonzo lost consciousness during the trip and died late Monday night.
Why is this important? Holding conditions for illegal immigrants caught trying to cross the border into the United States have been under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks, dating back to the death of a 7-year-old girl who died in U.S. custody after the 2,000 mile journey from Central America.
Officials perform welfare checks on all children in CBP custody, but with the recent influx of large groups of migrants, some holding facilities are understaffed and overwhelmed and are forced to request assistance from other agencies to meet the needs of all detainees.
The father of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, the girl who died in early December after traveling from Guatemala, said he did not blame CBP for his daughter's death, and said they treated her properly.