The Biden administration laid the blame for the in-custody death of an eight-year-old migrant girl on medical staff at a Border Patrol detention facility. A report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection cites the failure of equipment, treatment documentation, and the failure to acknowledge the child’s serious medical history as contributing factors to her death.
On May 17, CBP officials announced the death of the eight-year-old girl in Border Patrol custody, Breitbart Texas reported. Officials said the girl experienced a “medical emergency” at a detention center in Harlingen, Texas.
In a statement released on June 1, CBP officials provided information about the chain of events leading to the little girl’s tragic and possibly avoidable death.
The child and her mother arrived at a medical isolation section on May 14. The child presented with flu-like symptoms including a fever and pain, the CBP statement revealed. The girl’s fever spiked at 104.9 degrees in the early morning hours of May 16, officials stated. CBP contracted medical staff treated the child with Famiflu and ice packs and other fever-reducing medications.
Despite her serious condition and requests from the child’s mother, the medical staff did not transfer her to a hospital.
The following day, a nurse practitioner examined the girl on four separate occasions. The girl complained of stomach pain, nausea, and breathing difficulties. The nurse practitioner denied four requests from the mother to transport the child by ambulance to a hospital. The nurse practitioner also refused to review papers brought to the clinic by the family.
By about 1:55 p.m. on May 17, the mother carried the girl into the medical unit in her arms. The girl was having a seizure and became unresponsive. The staff called for an ambulance and began CPR treatments monitored by an external defibrillator. The ambulance arrived at 2:07 p.m. and transported the child to the Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. Doctors declared the child to be deceased at 2:50 p.m., CBP officials reported.
The CBP review alleges that none of the CBP contracted medical staff who worked with the child and her mother acknowledged being aware that she suffered from sickle cell anemia or that she has a history of congenital heart failure. The medical staff did not consult with the on-call physicians which included a pediatrician. The staff allegedly failed to document numerous medical encounters, emergency antipyretic interventions, and the administration of medicine.
In addition to the medical treatment failures reported by CBP, the station’s camera system was not in working order, officials reported. The system was not restored to a functioning condition until May 23.
“The recent in-custody death of an eight-year-old child in our custody in Harlingen, Texas was a deeply upsetting and unacceptable tragedy,” CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said in a written statement. “We can —and we will— do better to ensure this never happens again.”
Miller said the agency implemented multiple steps to “address deficiencies identified by the ongoing investigation.”
Miller reported revised processing procedures to reduce the amount of time migrants spend in custody. Processing time for the release of family units fell by more than 50 percent during the past two weeks, the commissioner stated.
The Biden administration is ordering the deployment of a “cadre of United States Public Health Service uniformed clinicians” to several CBP detention facilities next week, Miller added. The goal is for the clinicians to provide “additional medical guidance and oversight capability.”
“Several medical providers involved in this incident have now been prohibited from working in CBP facilities,” he explained.
“Finally, we have mandated that all U.S. Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations personnel review the National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention and Search to ensure comprehension and compliance with this policy,” Commissioner Miller concluded. “CBP’s uniformed personnel play an important role in the continuum of medical care for individuals in our custody, along with qualified medical providers.”