San Felipe, Mexico



April 10, 2005, Celia Diaz, Binational Emergency Medical Care Committee (BEMCC), Mexico Emergency Medical Evacuation Report, San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico:

On April 10, 2005, at 1:00 p.m. I received a call from one of our members via a satellite phone.

The caller said there were 3 motorcycle riders, all of them members of BEMCC. One of them suffered an injury to the arm and shoulder. Their location was about 140 miles south of San Felipe, near a town San Jose de la Piedra. They gave their coordinates, and location, not near a road and not able to get to a clinic or hospital.

I called Mexican and American ambulance companies, but they said they could not pick him up by ground due to his location. A helicopter was needed and they did not have one.

I called the U.S. Coast Guard and they gave me the telephone number for the "Secretaria de Marina" Estado Mayor General in Mexico City.

We have to exhaust all of our resources in Mexico before the U.S. Coast Guard or the Rescue Center can intervene.

I called the Mexico City number and spoke with Captain Jesus Garcia Molina. I explained the situation and told him the U.S. Coast Guard had given me his number. I gave him the coordinates where the injured person was. He wanted to know which agency I represented.

I gave him the name and web page of the Binational Emergency Medical Care Committee, BEMCC, and explained to him that we worked with all of the federal, state and local authorities from both sides of the border to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Mexico and to Mexican citizens in the United States. He said he was going to call Mexicali and Ensenada, Baja California Secretaria de Marina, to request they send a helicopter to pick up the patient.

I called him back twice to find out if help was on its way. He said he had spoken with Secretaria de Marina and they would dispatch a helicopter.

I kept in contact with the patient and his two friends who stayed by his side at all times and asked them not to move from the site until the helicopter arrived. They promised they would stay put. They also told me that they had been contacted by the Mexican military to let them know help was on its way and they would be arriving around 5 p.m.

At 5:10 I received a call from the patient's friend who said the helicopter was there from the Mexican military and they pass the phone to Ivan Acosta Gutierrez of the Secretaria de Marina. He said they would take the patient to Ensenada Naval Center and would be arriving there around 6:30 p.m. I told him I would have an ambulance waiting there to bring the patient to San Diego.

They not only picked up the patient, but they also picked up his motorcycle.

I notified his wife and she was most grateful for the assistance provided to her husband.

The patient would be arriving at 8 p.m. at the U.S. hospital.

I called the Mexico City Secretaria de Marina and I thanked them for their assistance and told them help had arrived. I thanked them for their most efficient and rapid response.

The nonprofit BEMCC provides emergency assistance to its members for a tax-deductible membership fee of $35 per year, 619-425-5080.

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