An American doctor died at a hospital in Alabama after he was found beaten and left for dead in a ditch while on vacation in Mexico.
Dr. William O’Byrne was rushed UAB Hospital in Birmingham on life support after he was found in the ditch, friends told AL.com.
He was pronounced dead on Wednesday, Feb. 28.
O’Byrne was an anesthesiologist who specialized in critical care. A graduate of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, he worked at UAB Hospital as an associate professor and doctor.
Friends said O’Byrne was on vacation in Puerto Vallarta when he was severely beaten and left for dead.
Friends found him and rushed him to a hospital there before he was airlifted to Alabama.
Dr. Jason Hall, an anesthesiology resident at Duke, told WIAT that O’Byrne was on vacation with a group when he was separated from the group. When he was finally located by the group, he was in a hospital room on a ventilator.
— AL.com (@aldotcom) March 1, 2018
American authorities have not confirmed that account, although a spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said that they’re aware of the case and are working on gathering information.
Hall remembered O’Byrne as a special man.
“Like he was to so many medical students and residents before me, he was my mentor and friend,” Hall told AL.com.
“He was a gifted physician trained both in medicine and anesthesiology with fellowship training in critical care. He showed kindness and genuine concern for his patients above and beyond that of other physicians.”
The U.S. State Department says on its website that travelers to Mexico should exercise increased caution due to crime.
“Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread,” the department stated in an alert.
There are no specific alerts for Puerto Vallarta but there is a level 3 warning in place for the state it’s in, with “violent crime and gang activity common in parts of Jalisco state.”