PHOENIX (AP) — Emily has leukemia. She just underwent a month of chemotherapy and had her right arm amputated after suffering complications. Doctors say she is at risk of dying from an infection.
But the sick 11-year-old isn't in a hospital.
Her mother last week inexplicably unhooked a tube that had been carrying vital medication through the girl's heart, got her out of bed and changed her clothes. Then she did something police say is even more baffling — she walked the child out of the hospital, the tiny tube still protruding from her chest.
Doctors say the device, if left unattended, could allow bacteria to quickly enter her body, leading to a potentially deadly infection.
Phoenix police are now on a desperate search for the mother and daughter, last seen Wednesday night on surveillance video leaving Phoenix Children's Hospital, the mother pushing an IV stand, the small child with a bandaged arm amputated above the elbow walking beside her.
Authorities have no explanation for why the child's mother — 35-year-old Norma Bracamontes — removed the girl from the hospital before her treatment was complete, but they say it's imperative she return her immediately. They're even considering criminal charges.
"Certainly from our standpoint, we are looking at it thinking, is this negligence in failing to provide Emily the proper medical care that she requires?" Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said Tuesday. "They should know by now what is required, what Emily needs, so it baffles us that anyone, any parent with a child like this, with leukemia and an amputated arm, and now you put them in this situation where it's potentially fatal, we just don't understand why they would not seek medical treatment."
Authorities speculate the mother might have been concerned with paying the child's hospital bill, but her motivation remains a mystery. The family lives a "nomadic" life without a permanent residence, but they have relatives in Arizona, California and Mexico, none of whom have been able to provide police with information about their whereabouts, Martos said.