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.)
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them