Jul 9, 2014 8:15 PM by Lauren Reimer

Medical Group calls for more child migrant health information

TUCSON - Migrant children taken to detention center, like the one in Nogales, are given medical exams and vaccinations. The details of their health issues, is kept behind closed doors, shut down by the department of homeland security.

That has alarmed some doctors.

Sparked by concerns of scabies, influenza, and other communicable diseases, the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is demanding answers from our federal government. The group worries we could be sitting on a national health crisis without any public knowledge.

"We can't possibly hope to control it if we don't know about it," said Dr. Jane Orient, AAPS Executive Director.

Now the AAPS is calling on congress to consider stepping in, writing in a letter "Citizens and local law officials are not receiving adequate information from federal agencies."

"If you wanted to open a little business where you took care of children or you took care of disabled people, the community and your neighbors would have some say about whether they felt that what you were doing was good for them," said Dr. Orient.

Tens of thousands of Central American children have crossed into the U.S. in recent months. With a portion of that population now staying here in Tucson, Diamond Children's could expect to see a few come into its emergency room.

While it's not anticipating any type epidemic, a hospital spokesperson said it still wants to be ready for anything.

"When we have a seasonal outbreak, or maybe a disease outbreak, flu is a good example, we do want to stock up on extra isolation gowns, extra masks gloves," said Michelle Ziemba, Associate Vice President of Emergency Preparedness for Diamond Children's and the University of Arizona Medical Center.

Diamond Children's was approached by Southwest Key, the organization running the Tucson migrant children's shelter, about possibly exploring a relationship, but no formal agreements have been made.


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