PHOENIX — An 11-year-old leukemia patient whose whereabouts have been unclear since her mother unexpectedly took her from a Phoenix hospital last month appeared to be safe and cared for, according to an interview broadcast Wednesday.
Phoenix police have been searching for Emily Bracamontes since surveillance video showed her with her mother walking out of Phoenix Children’s Hospital on Nov. 28. Authorities said she could have died from an infection because she had a tube known as a catheter inserted into her heart to provide medication.
The mother, Norma Bracamontes, appeared with her daughter Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” and blamed the hospital for complications that led to her daughter’s right arm being amputated. The family and Emily were being intimidated by the hospital over bills, she said.
“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.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital released a statement Wednesday, saying privacy laws prevent officials from disclosing patients’ financial information or details regarding treatment.
“However, 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.
Emily underwent about a month of chemotherapy and had been treated for an infection that led doctors to amputate her arm, police said. Her mother unhooked the tubing from an IV and left with the girl, leaving her susceptible to further infection. The girl left with her mother a day before she was set to be released.
Emily appeared in the interview Wednesday in what appeared to be a medical facility that was not identified.
“I am here, and it kind of feels good because the doctors really love me so much,” said a bright-eyed and smiling Emily, who wore a pink, knitted cap.
Emily’s father, Luis Bracamontes, said last week in an interview with NBC News that his daughter was safe and being treated by doctors in Mexico.
Hospital spokeswoman Debra Stevens said clinical decisions are never based on ability to pay and Phoenix Children’s provides services either free or at reduced rates to patients who can’t pay. The hospital told ABC it follows accepted treatment protocols to prevent infection.
“Emily’s health and well-being continues to be our primary concern,” Stevens said in an email to The Associated Press. “Children with her condition require ongoing treatment and monitoring, so we invite her current physician to contact Emily’s Phoenix Children’s pediatric oncologist to ensure continuity of care. This is customary when a patient seeks a second opinion or moves from inpatient to outpatient care.”
Phoenix police didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about the status of their investigation Wednesday.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona