HSC Statement HSC Statement

UPDATED: Statement Regarding the Death of Roxsana Hernandez

Updated 4/18/19 - an amended report has been issued to correct mistakes on dates listed in the orignal report.

 

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator has released its findings in the death of Roy Alexander Hernandez Rodriguez, also known as Roxsana Hernandez. Ms. Hernandez, a transgender U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee hospitalized at Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, died on May 25, 2018 after a rapidly progressive illness. Dr. Kurt Nolte, Chief Medical Investigator, classified the cause of death as multicentric Castleman disease due to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and the manner of death as natural. Multicentric Castleman disease is a rare disorder of the immune system that, in this case, was associated with a human herpesvirus 8 infection.

While a preliminary report from a second autopsy identified soft tissue bleeding over the sides and back of the chest thought to be secondary to physical abuse, we do not share that conclusion. Ms. Hernandez had extensive fractures of the ribs and sternum (breastbone) consistent with a series of at least 10 cardiac arrests with successful rounds of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by medical personnel working to save her life. During the period when Ms. Hernandez was being resuscitated, her platelet count (blood elements responsible for clotting) was extremely low which would amplify the bleeding associated with physically forceful CPR.

“This case has taken almost a year to close because the autopsy was complex and required additional testing and consultation. We wanted to ensure we answered all the questions we could about Ms. Hernandez’s death,” Dr. Nolte said. “Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones. We know that releasing her autopsy report will bring a flood of emotions for them. We have done our best to ensure her cause and manner of death were fully investigated to hopefully provide some level of closure.”

The full autopsy report can be downloaded from this page.

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