NATIONAL NEWS

8-year-old girl sought medical help 3 times on day she died, US immigration officials say

May 21, 2023, 2:58 PM | Updated: 4:02 pm

HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) — An 8-year-old girl who died last week in Border Patrol custody was seen at least three separate times by medical personnel on the day of her death — complaining of vomiting, a stomachache and later suffering what appeared to be a seizure — before she was taken to a hospital, U.S. immigration officials said Sunday.

The girl’s mother had previously told The Associated Press that agents had repeatedly ignored her pleas to hospitalize her medically fragile daughter, who had a history of heart problems and sick cell anemia. Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez, whose parents are Honduran, was born in Panama with congenital heart disease.

“She cried and begged for her life, and they ignored her. They didn’t do anything for her,” Mabel Alvarez Benedicks, the mother of Anadith, had previously told The Associated Press during an interview Friday.

In a statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it knew about the girl’s medical history when personnel began treating her for influenza four days before her death on May 17.

CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement that while his agency awaits the results of an internal investigation, he has ordered several steps be taken to ensure appropriate care for all medically fragile people in his agency’s custody.

These actions include reviewing cases of all known medically fragile individuals currently in custody to ensure their time being held is limited and examining medical-care practices at CBP facilities to see if more personnel are needed.

“We must ensure that medically fragile individuals receive the best possible care and spend the minimum amount of time possible in CBP custody,” Miller said, adding his agency is “deeply saddened” by the girl’s “tragic death.”

Anadith’s death has raised questions about whether the Border Patrol properly handled the situation. It was the second child migrant death in two weeks in U.S. government custody after a rush of illegal border crossings amid the expiration of pandemic-related asylum limits known as Title 42 severely strained holding facilities.

According to a CBP statement, Anadith had first voiced complaints of abdominal pain, nasal congestion, and cough on the afternoon of May 14. She had a temperature of 101.8 degrees Fahrenheit (38.7 Celsius)

After a test showed she had influenza, Anadith was given acetaminophen, ibuprofen, medicine for nausea and Tamiflu, a flu treatment, according to CBP.

The family was then transferred from a facility in Donna, Texas, to one in Harlingen, Texas.

She continued to be given Tamiflu for the next two days. She was also given ibuprofen, according to CBP.

Alvarez Benedicks had told the AP her daughter’s health got progressively worse during those days and that doctors at the station denied her repeated requests for an ambulance to take the girl to a hospital.

“I felt like they didn’t believe me,” Alvarez Benedicks said.

On May 17, the girl and her mother went to the Harlingen Border Patrol Station’s medical unit at least three times, CBP said. In the first visit, Anadith complained of vomiting. In the second, she child complained of a stomachache. By the third visit at 1:55 p.m., “the mother was carrying the girl who appeared to be having a seizure, after which records indicate the child became unresponsive,” according to CBP.

Medical personnel began performing CPR before she was taken to a hospital in Harlingen, where she was pronounced dead at 2:50 p.m.

A medical examiner is waiting for additional tests before determining a cause of death.

Her death came a week after a 17-year-old Honduran boy, Ángel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza, died in U.S. Health and Human Services Department custody. He was traveling alone.

National News

FILE - An Amazon worker delivers packages in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020. July sales events have be...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day deals are almost here. Should you take advantage of them?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s summertime, and the bargains seem easy at a time when many consumer prices are high. July sales events have become a seasonal revenue driver for the retail industry since Amazon launched its first Prime Day back in 2015. While consumers may be enticed by the advertised can’t-miss savings on some […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting kills 3 people including a young child in a car on an Alabama street

Three people including a young child were killed when their car was targeted with multiple gunshots outside a residence in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday evening. The Birmingham Police Department said in a social media post that a triple homicide investigation was underway in the 3400 Block of 27th Street North. The police said officers responded […]

4 hours ago

Carlton Smith, left, and Justin Nimmo pose in from of the console of the Barton Opus 234 theater or...

Associated Press

Reviving Hollywood glamor of the silent movie era, experts piece together a century-old pipe organ

DETROIT (AP) — A massive pipe organ that underscored the drama and comedy of silent movies with live music in Detroit’s ornate Hollywood Theatre nearly a century ago was dismantled into thousands of pieces and stashed away. The Barton Opus, built in 1927, spent four decades stored in a garage, attic and basement in suburban […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator ...

Associated Press

Can a Medicaid plan that requires work succeed? First year of Georgia experiment is not promising

ATLANTA (AP) — By now, Georgia officials expected their new Medicaid plan, the only one in the nation with a work requirement, to provide health insurance to 25,000 low-income residents and possibly tens of thousands more. But a year since its launch, Pathways to Coverage has roughly 4,300 members, much lower than what state officials […]

6 hours ago

Catherine Ward, owner of One Acre Farms, a functioning educational farm to help special needs kids,...

Associated Press

After Beryl, Houston-area farmers pull together to face unique challenges

PORTER, Texas (AP) — Hurricanes cause trouble for everyone, but farmers have a whole other list of problems. Beryl has been no exception: Over the past week, the storm damaged crops, soaked rabbits and chickens, terrified goats, put horses at risk of developing colic and left cows without fences to keep them penned in. And […]

7 hours ago

Debris from the Titan submersible, recovered from the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic, is...

Associated Press

The first Titanic voyage in 14 years is happening in the wake of submersible tragedy. Hopes are high

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The company that owns the salvage rights to the Titanic is undertaking its first expedition to the ship’s wreckage in years, and those involved in the mission said they have both heavy hearts and lofty goals for a trip happening a year after a submersible disaster involving another firm killed five […]

7 hours ago

8-year-old girl sought medical help 3 times on day she died, US immigration officials say