An accident in a UM dormitory left a transfer student in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
At around 4 a.m. on Thursday morning, cries for help were heard coming from outside the Mahoney Residential College.
Vice President for Student Affairs, Pat Whitely, said a first floor resident, who chose not to comment, was awaken by the cries and went to a resident assistant for help.
According to university officials, Maria Paola Ramirez was found lying on the ground outside, unable to move.
Whitely said the 21-year-old transfer student apparently first exited through the fire escape door, which is prohibited for students.
A warning on the door is printed in white letters: “FIRE EXIT ONLY-Violators will be prosecuted.”
Ramirez, a marketing major, then most likely went up the stairs, got out to the ledge, and fell off between the second and third floors of Mahoney, Whitely said.
“She was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center and is currently at Jackson Memorial Hospital in stable condition,” Whitely said. “She has sustained a serious injury.”
Jackson Memorial Hospital lists Ramirez in critical condition.
Most students and resident assistants in the Mahoney/Pearson Residential Colleges were not aware of the incident.
“All I know is she’s paralyzed,” a second floor resident said.
Ramirez’s suitemates also did not know what had happened. All they were told is that she was in an accident. They assumed it was a car crash.
As of Sunday evening, The Hurricane cannot confirm if Ramirez is paralyzed.
Charles Clency, Residence Coordinator for Mahoney, would not comment on the accident, except to say that a young lady fell.
“I don’t know if we can say at this point what the prognosis is because I’m not sure anyone absolutely knows,” said Whitely. “But it is a serious injury.”
Not only is her prognosis unknown, her motive for being out on the ledge has also yet to be determined.
“We don’t expect any foul play,” said Whitely.
Ramirez’s parents flew in Thursday and met with Whitely and President Donna Shalala.
“The University is deeply saddened by this tragedy,” said Whitely. “We are offering her parents and her family support during this very difficult time.”
A social worker for the university is on the case, as are the police and UM officials.
“It’s obviously a very tragic situation,” said Whitely.