Miami– An armed Border Patrol agent has been wandering in recent days through emergency room corridors in Miami while nurses push stretchers and medical trains through hospitals, and families wait for doctors to treat their loved ones.
Agents in olive green uniforms entered and left the room of a woman who was taken by ambulance after vomiting and fainting while detained for immigration violations, according to lawyers who saw the scene.
The presence of immigration authorities is increasingly common in health care centers in the United States, and hospitals are struggling to set limits and protect patient rights by increasing immigration control during President Donald Trump's administration.
Some doctors believe that increased attendance can affect public health in cities with large immigrant populations by frightening patients who need treatment that causes them to avoid hospitals.
Usually, agents from the Immigration and Customs and Border Patrol Office enter the hospital when detainees need emergency medical services or special care. In many cases, agents take sick immigrants to the hospital after arresting them at the border. In some cases, they have been arrested after leaving the hospital.
In 2017, the Border Patrol agent followed a 10-year-old immigrant with cerebral palsy to a hospital in Texas and arrested him after undergoing surgery. He was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was a child.
Doctors, lawyers, and family members complain that immigrants are chained in hospitals and the presence of disturbing uniformed agents in the auscultation room during their treatment and discussions with doctors about medical care.
The American Medical Association's Ethics Journal published the entire January edition for the attention of immigrants in the country without permission, including debates about whether medical facilities should be declared "protective hospitals," similar to the way they do it. Cities of sanctuary.
"Our patients should not be afraid that entering the hospital will end in arrest or deportation. In medical facilities, patients and family members must focus on their recovery and health, not the consequences of their immigration status, "the association said in a statement.
However, Dr. Elisabeth Poorman, a general practitioner at the University of Washington in Seattle, said the facility must constantly train staff on how to interact with immigrant agents and patients in this situation.
"The terrain is constantly changing. I can tell a patient that I am committed to their safety, but under the current administration we cannot tell everyone that they are 100% safe, "he said.