Three U.S. health officials at the Mexican border reportedly failed to prevent the death of an 8-year-old migrant girl on Wednesday despite meeting with her several times in that 24-hour-period, according to the Associated Press.
The mother of the late 8-year-old girl named Anadith, 35-year-old Mabel Alvarez Benedicks, told The Associated Press (AP) that her daughter sought medical attention from at least three different border-based medics in a single day, yet passed away.
The mother of a young migrant girl who died in U.S. Border Patrol custody last week requested medical aid at least three times the day her sick daughter was pronounced dead at a Texas hospital, government officials said Sunday. https://t.co/uaPEkxVmLs
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 22, 2023
The migrant mom alleged that each time, the border medics “ignored her pleas to hospitalize her medically fragile daughter,” who she said suffered from pre-existing health conditions such as influenza and a “history of heart problems and sickle cell anemia.” (RELATED: Michigan Health Department On Alert After Mysterious Illness Kills Kindergartner, Sickens Others In Detroit)
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson Roderick Kise initially did not provide additional comment on the fatality beyond the official statement released Sunday, which conveyed that the Office of Professional Responsibility was “conducting an investigation of the incident.” The agency later issued a second statement.
Anadith “had first voiced complaints of abdominal pain, nasal congestion, and cough on the afternoon of May 14.” She also had a temperature of 101.8 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a second CBP statement.
After she was diagnosed with influenza, the family was relocated from a migrant housing facility in Donna, Texas to Harlingen station, which Benedicks said reeked of urine and was “dusty,” according to AP.
Here, Anadith received acetaminophen, ibuprofen, nausea meds and the antiviral Tamiflu, according to the statement. Anadith’s mother maintained that her late daughter’s health steadily declined despite these treatments, according to the AP. Medics at the Harlingen site refused “repeated requests for an ambulance to take the girl to a hospital,” she alleged. “I felt like they didn’t believe me.”
BREAKING: An 8-year-old migrant girl died today while in Border Patrol custody in the RGV. CBP says she suffered a medical emergency while at the Harlingen, TX BP station with her family, & was pronounced dead at hospital. Last week, a 17 y/o migrant died in HHS custody (seizure) pic.twitter.com/ibXXNwmTLb
— Bill Melugin (@BillMelugin_) May 18, 2023
By May 17, Anadith was seen by staff at the Harlingen Border Patrol Station’s medical unit three times for vomiting, stomach pain and a seizure incident, the statement reported.
Leading up to the third request for medical attention, “the mother was carrying the girl who appeared to be having a seizure, after which records indicate the child became unresponsive,” according to CBP.
CPR was performed to no avail and the girl was subsequently taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Benedicks said the assistance her child received was non-existent, according to a previous AP report. “She cried and begged for her life and they ignored her. They didn’t do anything for her,” she said.
Benedicks alleged all ambulance requests were refused until Anadith “went limp and unconscious and blood came out of her mouth.”
Despite a 72-hour threshold which caps how long border agents can legally hold migrants and their families in custody, Anadith and her mother were in border patrol custody at Harlingen station for a little over one week, the outlet reported. She died on the ninth day.
The regulations are frequently sidelined because border agents have been overwhelmed with vast influx of immigrants seeking entry into the country, according to AP. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Border Patrol Migrant Processing Centers Are Already Over Capacity Days Before Trump-Era Policy Ends)
The marks the third fatality of an adolescent migrant in U.S. Border Patrol custody at the southern border since March. (RELATED: Migrant Child From Honduras Dies In US Custody)