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The New York Times has a riveting story today about the threats physicians in Tijuana are facing while trying to save the lives of people shot in the ongoing drug battles there.

The story from reporter Marc Lacey begins:

The sedated patient, his bullet wounds still fresh from a shootout the night before, was lying on a gurney in the intensive care unit of a prestigious private hospital here late last month with intravenous fluids dripping into his arm. Suddenly, steel-faced gunmen barged in and filled him with even more bullets. This time, he was dead for sure.

With bodies piling up — the story says 170 people were killed in November alone in Tijuana — the doctors who treat wounded cartel members feel particularly at risk.

When they leave their offices, [doctors] say they face the risk of being kidnapped and held for ransom, as about two dozen local physicians have been in the last few years. Doctors also complain about receiving blunt threats from patients or patients’ relatives. “Sálvame o te mato,” save me or I will kill you, is what one orthopedic surgeon said he was told by a patient, who evidently did not grasp the contradiction.

ROB DAVIS

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