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8-year-old succumbs to high fever following US Border Patrol’s refusal to provide medical care

Anadith Reyes.Courtesy Lorna Santos

Posted: Sunday, June 4, 2023. 5:25 pm CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: According to CBS Austin, a recent internal investigation has uncovered serious medical negligence leading to the tragic death of an 8-year-old girl, Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez, while in Border Patrol custody. The child, who had a heart condition and a rare blood disorder, exhibited a dangerously high fever of 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit before she died at Harlingen Station in Texas on May 17.

The investigation, conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility, unearthed significant shortcomings in the case. Despite the child’s mother pleading for medical intervention as her daughter suffered flu-like symptoms, pain, and high fever, the medical staff at the facility reportedly denied the child “higher-level care” and neglected to review her medical file.

According to the report sourced by CBS Austin, the mother’s repeated requests for an ambulance or hospital transfer were declined by a nurse practitioner. When presented with the family’s medical documents and folic acid tablets, the nurse practitioner refused to look at the papers but conceded to give the girl one folic acid tablet.

The situation worsened soon after their fourth encounter with the nurse practitioner when the mother rushed back with her daughter, who seemed to be experiencing a seizure. The child became unresponsive and, despite finally prompting a call to emergency services, was later declared dead.

The investigation highlighted the shocking ignorance of the medical staff, noting, “none of the CBP contracted medical personnel or U.S. Border Patrol personnel at Harlingen Station who interacted with the girl, or her mother, acknowledged being aware she suffered from sickle cell anemia or had a history of congenital heart disease.”

Further complications arose due to an out-of-service surveillance video system at the station, a violation of federal law that prevented evidence collection. The faulty system wasn’t repaired until six days after the child’s death.

CBS Austin’s report raises grave concerns over the duration of the girl’s custody, which stretched to nine days, far exceeding the agency’s stipulated 72-hour limit. It points to significant systemic failures during this period.

Born in Panama to Honduran parents, Anadith had congenital heart disease and had undergone successful surgery three years prior. Her family now resides with relatives in New York City as they prepare for her funeral.


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