Medical ‘breakdown’ at the border
ABC News reports that that federal government “is so overwhelmed by the current tide of migrants crossing the border it can’t provide basic medical screening to all of the children before transporting them – often by air – to longer-term holding facilities across the country.” What sort of health problems are they dealing with? Oh, no big deal, just lice, scabies, turberculosis, chicken pox, and swine flu.
The director of refugee health in the federal Health and Human Services Department “has identified a breakdown of the medical screening processes at the Nogales, Arizona, facility,” according to an internal Department of Defense memo reviewed by ABC News. The “breakdown” a systemic failure of the handoff of these children between CBP and HHS.
Inside the government, officials are sounding alarms, fearing that they and their teams who come in contact with the sick children face potential exposure to infectious diseases from chicken pox to influenza, including rare cases of H1N1, more commonly called swine flu.
Two unaccompanied children were flown from Nogales to California despite having 101-degree fevers and flu-like symptoms, according to the Department of Defense memo. Those children had to be hospitalized.
I hope this is all getting taken care of before loading the Unaccompanied Alien Children onto planes and buses for redistribution around the country…?
The memo said pointedly that officials in charge of moving the immigrants from Border Patrol processing centers to Health and Human Services facilities are “putting sick [fevers and coughing] unaccompanied children on airplanes inbound for [Naval Base Ventura County] in addition to the chicken pox and coxsackie virus cases.”
The document said three other kids were in the ICU at local hospitals in California, and two of them were diagnosed with strep pneumonia.
Less than a week later, that same Ventura Naval Base suffered an outbreak of pneumonia and influenza among the unaccompanied minors inside the shelter.
“Preliminary reports indicate that several unaccompanied minors in the shelter had become ill with what appears to be pneumonia and influenza,” according to a statement from the Administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services.
Oh. I guess that’s the part of the system that “broke down” under the stress of Barack Obama’s manufactured border crisis.
Of course, the Most Transparent Administration In History doesn’t want to discuss all this candidly with the media:
HHS told ABC News the children were supposed to be screened for sickness before leaving the Border Patrol screening centers.
“When the children arrive at U.S. border stations,” the ACF statement read, “they are screened for health problems and given medical treatment if needed.”
But, according to the memo ABC News reviewed, “Curi Kim [the HHS director of the Division of Refugee Health] has identified a breakdown of the medical screening processes at the Nogales, Arizona, facility. The [unaccompanied children] were initially screened and cleared upon entry into that facility with no fever or significant symptoms. They were not however re-screened and cleared for travel and placement at a temporary shelter.”
While confirming to ABC News the outbreak occurred, HHS would not respond to inquiries about the DOD memo showing sick children were knowingly sent to Naval Base Ventura prior to the outbreak.
“My biggest concerns are with the health of these children,” said Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor. “They are victims going through incredibly stressful circumstances and some will have health issues that need to be treated. Some come from countries that don’t vaccinate against pneumonia or meningitis. They need those vaccines. Some come from countries where it is flu season. They need that vaccine, too. The big health risks are among these children, not to our communities.”
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), who is a medical doctor, was less blase about the possibility of infections spreading into the general population in a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as reported by Judicial Watch:
In a hard-hitting letter to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Congressman Gingrey demands that the agency keep Americans informed about its plan to handle the growing public health crisis posed by the influx of minors. “As the unaccompanied children continue to be transported to shelters around the country on commercial airlines and other forms of transportation, I have serious concerns that the diseases carried by these children may begin to spread too rapidly to control,” the congressman writes. “In fact, as you undoubtedly know, some of these diseases have no known cure.”
Gingrey mentions reports of Border Patrol agents contracting diseases through contact with the infected illegal aliens. A few weeks ago Judicial Watch reportedthat the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is forcing Border Patrol agents to serve as babysitters for the UACs. An internal agency document obtained by JW calls for agents with “child care or juvenile teaching and/or counseling” experience to work at the various shelters housing the migrants. Officers from the front-line agency responsible for preventing terrorists and weapons of mass destruction from entering the U.S. will be “responsible for feeding, monitoring, interacting and providing security” for the illegal alien minors until they are placed elsewhere.
To handle the escalating health crisis the CDC has activated an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), but Gingrey points out in his letter that Congress and the public are being kept in the dark about what it’s doing. “I firmly believe the public deserves to know the specific actions the EOC and other departments of the CDC are taking to combat and prevent the spread of communicable diseases,” the lawmaker writes. He goes on to demand that the CDC take immediate action to assess the public risk posed by the UACs and their subsequent transfer to different parts of the country. “I would also like information on what is being done to protect border patrol agents who come in contact with these diseases, what decontamination efforts are taking place, and what is included in medical screenings of the children.”
We can hope effective means will be employed to prevent these contagions from spreading, although the mad haste with which they have been moved around the country is not encouraging. Of course, if they hadn’t been moved, the main detention centers would have become even more virulent incubators of disease. Heck of a job you’ve done here, Mr. Obama. By all means, let’s go back to ignoring the people who were one hundred percent correct in predicting what the consequences of Obama’s amnesty push would be, and let those who caused this disaster tell us what to do next.