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Report says migrant healthcare flawed

TUCSON – A new report says hospital and immigration enforcement policies are having a negative impact on migrant healthcare.

“It really shows flaws in our system where someone who is doing a great job for our society and has training as a law enforcement professional but that person is being put in a situation where they are making what are sometimes life and death decisions about a patient and they don’t have the knowledge or training to make that decision,” said Kathryn Hampton with Physicians for Human Rights.

Physicians for Human Rights interviewed more than 60 medical professionals working in Southern Arizona, California and Texas.

Officials said they found multiple instances of migrants being arrested while going into surgery, ambulances being stopped at checkpoints, doctors being intimated by immigration enforcement and critically ill patients whose chains prevented them from being examined.

“We don’t want someone to die right before our eyes when we have the ability to save them,” said Hampton.

A New York Times story on the report also interviewed several medical professional working in Tucson. In the story, those medical professional say Banner Health’s policy of treating migrant detainees like inmates is part of the problem.

In response, Banner Health released the following statement.

“Hospital administrators will meet with Border Patrol Tucson sector leadership on Wednesday to make sure that both Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Border Patrol have policies in place that uphold the highest standards of patient care, safety and privacy. It is also of high importance to us that our staff and providers feel supported and safe.,” Banner spokesperson.

Officials with the Tucson sector of Border Patrol did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hampton says hospital and Border Patrol officials need to better safeguard migrant healthcare by adopting a non-discrimination policy, better training immigration enforcement agents and expanding and enforcing the Sensitive Locations policy.

You can read the full report here and the New York Times story here

Nick VinZant

Nick VinZant

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