Local News in Brief : Orange : Brain Surgery Patient Is Identified by Friend

Almost two months after he was dropped off at UCI Medical Center with a potentially fatal brain condition, a Mexican national has been identified.

Verijlio Palacio Vasquez, 26, who underwent brain surgery Feb. 20, was identified by a friend who saw his photograph in Rumores, a Spanish-language newspaper in Santa Ana, and contacted the hospital, according to spokeswoman Fran Tardiff.

Palacio was reported in good condition Monday, recovering from surgery to correct an aneurysm, a weakened blood vessel that, without treatment, can rupture, causing disabling injury or death, said officials for the medical center in the City of Orange.

“At least we know who he is,” Tardiff said. “The friends who recognized him have also notified his parents in Guerrero, Mexico. As far as we know, he doesn’t have any relatives here.”


Palacio, who apparently cannot read or write and cannot speak because of a tracheotomy, remained unidentified for 6 weeks after a woman brought him, unconscious, to the hospital and then left. He communicated by nodding “yes” or “no” to questions asked in Spanish, indicating that he was in the country illegally. Hospital workers read names of Mexican communities to him in hopes that he might identify his hometown, but he did not respond.

Although Palacio is no longer in the intensive care unit, he is still not able to speak. But Tardiff described him as “alert and in good spirits.” She could not say when he will be able to breathe unassisted or be discharged from the hospital.

UCI officials speculated that Palacio’s friends stayed away so long out of fear that he or they might be turned over to immigration authorities.