The Central American women and children streaming into South Texas need medical assistance, and they need it now, says TMA President Austin King, MD, who traveled to McAllen to personally survey the crisis.
TMA is calling on President Barack Obama and Gov. Rick Perry to provide medical aid to the thousands of women and children who have traveled from Central America to Texas. Many of these children have traveled alone without an adult, while others have entered the United States with their mothers. The children traveling with their mothers often have a relative or friend in the United States awaiting their arrival and can get through the immigration process faster. They then disperse throughout the country using public transportation without knowing their immunization status and without a physical exam or health history by a physician.
Texas physicians want to ensure every child and mother is vaccinated and receives a thorough health examination — and soon. Dr. King explained, "Communicable diseases know no borders, and it’s critical we make certain no one is traveling with tuberculosis, pertussis, measles, or any other contagious disease. Medical aid not only protects the Central American refugees, but it also protects U.S. residents from potentially serious and deadly diseases.
“Taking care of these oppressed people who have traveled days without food, water, or bathing is the humanitarian and right thing to do. By helping them, we also are helping our own residents stay healthy,” added Dr. King.
Action, July 1, 2014