Norma Bracamontes, 35, unleashed a firestorm and was sought by police after she took her sick 11-year-old daughter with leukemia out of Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Authorities said the girl could die if she didn’t return to the hospital, because of her medical condition.
But in an exclusive interview with Telemundo, the parents say they were simply protecting their daughter from what they allege is bad medical treatment that was endangering her life.
“It was the only way because they had her threatened and intimidated,” Norma told Telemundo.
The father, Luis Bracamontes, 46, and the mother say one of the most painful things they’ve had to deal with is that the hospital told them their daughter already came to the hospital with a serious arm infection, which became so dangerous that her arm was partially amputated after multiple surgeries. Yet, the parents allege she must have contracted the infection at the hospital.
“They told my wife that she already had it,” Luis said. “That’s not true. Her arm was healthy.”
Authorities say the girl, Emily, had been receiving chemotherapy at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for about a month, according to the Associated Press. The arm infection forced doctors to insert a catheter in her heart. The device was set to be taken out before her mother, Norma, removed an IV from the girl, changed her clothes, and walked her out of the hospital Wednesday night.
Doctors were worried that if the catheter was left in too long, it could lead to a deadly infection. Police told Telemundo charges were still possible for negligence, abuse or putting her daughter in danger but that Emily’s health was the number one concern.
Luis is a Mexican citizen with a U.S. resident alien identification card, while Emily and her mother are U.S. citizens, police said.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital released a statement Monday night saying they are profoundly worried about Emily’s safety and well-being and continue to cooperate with authorities. The hospital says that if her family has any questions they are willing to talk and discuss their options.
Meanwhile, Norma insists that she had no choice because her husband’s insurance was running out and she feared she would not be allowed to take her daughter to Mexico.
During the interview, where Norma spoke through a cell phone call, Emily also spoke to her father, Luis.
“Hi daddy,” she said in English.
“Hi Emily, how are you?” he responded.
“Good,” she said.
Luis says that his daughter’s leukemia is in remission, but he remains heartbroken over his baby girl, who lost her arm.
Authorities tell Telemundo they will continue looking for her.