New information released by Customs and Border Protection, which is conducting an internal inquiry, indicates that an 8-year-old girl who died after spending a week in their custody last month was visited by medical personnel 11 times before being brought to a hospital.
While the inquiry is ongoing, preliminary results indicate that the kid, Anadith Danay Reyes Alvarez, a citizen of Panama, may not have received adequate medical attention while she was in the care of the government. The acting commissioner of the organization, Troy Miller, stated on Thursday that “several medical providers involved in this incident have now been prohibited from working in C.B.P. facilities.”
Why It Matters: Crowding at Border Facilities Has Been a Problem
Anadith and her family shouldn’t have been detained for more than three days, according to CBP’s own guidelines. But when the family was detained on May 9 as part of a group of 47 migrants who entered Brownsville, Texas, border facilities were severely overcrowded.
The family entered the country at a time when the number of daily unlawful crossings had reached record highs, something officials in the Biden administration had long warned may result in risky and possibly cruel conditions in overcrowded border facilities.
Camilo Montoya-Galvez posted a tweet related to this news:
A nurse denied several requests to take eight-year-old Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez to the hospital the same day the sick migrant girl died in U.S. Border Patrol custody in Texas earlier this month, federal investigators said Thursday.https://t.co/K1VMPGaqNY
— Camilo Montoya-Galvez (@camiloreports) June 2, 2023
Background: The Girl’s Medical Background Was Disregarded
Anadith had sickle cell anemia and a cardiac ailment that she had from birth. When they were taken into Border Patrol custody in Donna, Texas, her family gave medical staff a history of her medical conditions. Internal investigators discovered that none of the medical staff she dealt with at the institution where her family was relocated acknowledged being aware of her medical history.
Anadith saw nine doctors at the Border Patrol detention center in Harlingen, Texas, between the evening of May 14 and the afternoon of May 17, when she passed away. Nobody asked a pediatrician on a call about her symptoms or care.
Anadith was seen by a physician on May 10 as part of the intake procedure at a Customs and Border Protection facility in Donna, and she was seen again on May 14 when she complained of stomach pain, nasal congestion, and a cough. She was given an influenza A diagnosis and received treatment at that time. She was moved with her family to the Harlington facility, where Border Patrol agents detain migrants in medical isolation.
Investigators were informed by a nurse practitioner who treated Anadith that she had turned down the mother’s requests to summon an ambulance or send the child to the hospital three or four times.
On the day of her death, Anadith was visited by medical professionals four times; however, emergency help was not summoned until Anadith’s mother rushed her to the health unit a fifth time when Anadith seemed to be suffering a seizure and quickly turned unconscious. She was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the agency.
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Officials Announce Modifications as the Next Step
According to Mr. Miller, the organization has already taken action to address “deficiencies” seen in Anadith’s care. Giving precedence to migrants who are “medically fragile” so they can be processed promptly and released from government custody is one of these measures.
According to internal data obtained by The New York Times, migrants were being detained for an average of four and a half days on the day Anadith passed away, as opposed to an average of just under three days on May 10. Two weeks following Anadith’s passing, according to Mr. Miller, the amount of time on average that migrant families were kept in detention decreased by 50%.
Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services promised to send Public Health Service clinicians to certain border facilities the following week.
While there was a steep drop in the number of daily border crossings a few days after Anadith and her family arrived in Brownsville, there are rumors that migrant shelters along some of Mexico’s northern border are full, a hint that crossings may start to pick up again this month.
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