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Disabled Activist Engracia Figueroa’s Cause of Death Revealed


A disabilities rights activist has passed away on October 31, 2021. Engracia Figueroa’s cause of death was revealed after her heartbreaking death at 51.

United Airlines said in a statement: “We were saddened to hear about Ms. Figueroa’s passing, and we offer our condolences to her friends and family.”

Figueroa died after suffering complications from injuries she sustained after her custom-made wheelchair was reportedly destroyed by United Airlines.

Her death came two weeks after Engracia was admitted to an ICU for the second time since her custom wheelchair was reportedly destroyed onboard a United Airlines flight.

Engracia had been hit by a Bay Area Rapid Transit train 30 years ago that unfortunately left her with a spinal cord injury and an amputated left leg.

Disabled Activist Engracia Figueroa's Cause of Death Revealed
Image Source: Daily Mail

She had a wheelchair built specifically to support her body, but the wheelchair was destroyed in the cargo hold of a flight from Washington DC to her hometown of Los Angeles in August.

Figueroa was forced to use a replacement that did not properly support her body, resulting in a pressure sore and acute pain.

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What’s Engracia Figueroa’s Cause of Death at 51?

Disability activist Engracia Figueroa’s cause of death has been confirmed after her death on Sunday, October 31, 2021. May she rest in peace.

Figueroa was active with the Long Term Care and Support Services for All Coalition. She was also the president of the Board of Communities Actively Living Independent and Free, an independent living center in LA.

She was representing Hand in Hand in Washington DC back in July at the Care Can’t Wait rally and Communities of Care art installation.

When she returned home to LA in early August, she discovered that United Airlines had destroyed her wheelchair while it was in the cargo hold.

Disabled Activist Engracia Figueroa's Cause of Death Revealed
Image Source: YouTube

“I was heartbroken. I just thought, all of the independence that I fought and strived for and successfully survived for soon to be 30 years by the minutes, it’s stripped away, and I was completely disabled and traumatized as well as hurt and exhausted,” she told ABC 7.

She was forced to wait five hours in the airport and was provided with a replacement wheelchair that was ‘broken’ and did not support her well.

“Her struggle to maintain her balance over that length of time in the faulty device led to the development of a pressure sore,” Hand in Hand reports.

“When she was finally able to return home, she experienced acute pain and was admitted to the hospital shortly after,” they said.

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United had agreed to fully replace Figueroa’s wheelchair, but in the months that it took to replace the custom wheelchair, “Engracia was forced to use a loaner chair that was not properly fitted to Engracia’s body.”

Hand in Hand said: “This further exacerbated her pressure sore and caused muscle spasms, severe edema, and an inability to eat, as well as two additional hospitalizations. 

“The sore became infected, and the infection eventually reached her hip, requiring emergency surgery to remove the infected bone and tissues.”

Hand in Hand said that Figueroa died of complications from that infection, and it ‘should never have happened.’

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