American inhumanity claims another victim

I had a nice, relaxing Christmas day yesterday. We had my oldest son Alaric over for dinner, and we did a little hangout online with Connlann, Ji, and Knut (he walks now! Watch out, world!), and and with Skatje, Kyle, and Iliana (who was quiet and wise throughout). Christmas has no religious associations at all for me, but the one thing it means is reconnecting with family, and a reminder that my greatest accomplishment in my life is producing three wonderful kids who have gone on to become admirable adults. And now there’s another generation coming along.

The worst thing you can tell me on Christmas, the thing that most violates my humanist, family-focused interpretation of the day, is to tell me that children are dying. So of course, once again, a young child has died in the custody of the US Customs and Border Patrol.

…an agent noticed Monday that the child had become ill. The boy and his father were taken to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, N.M, where the boy was diagnosed with a cold, according to a CBP news release.

Later, he was found to have a fever and was held for an additional 90 minutes before he was released with prescriptions for an antibiotic and Ibuprofen.

But the child became more seriously ill Monday night, when he vomited, and was taken back to the hospital. He died shortly after midnight on Christmas Day.

Diagnosed with a cold, and given an antibiotic? That makes no sense. There was something more there in the child’s symptoms, which was basically ignored but for handing him a pill. Colds don’t make you vomit, or give you a fever. There was something seriously wrong with this boy (obviously, given that he died of it), and he got inadequate care.

You know, when you’re dealing with thousands of people, it is inevitable that some will fall ill, and some will die. I’m sure that children in the solicitous care of loving parents die every day. If the Border Patrol were thoroughly humane and careful in their treatment of people in their care, there would still be occasional deaths. But what matters is how well they actually do care for those people — do they take seriously the moral obligation imposed on anyone who takes responsibility for children? I don’t think they do.

That’s the thing about this wall obsession — it’s about building an excuse to deny responsibility for people on your doorstep. Even more children would die if they were isolated on the southern side of a wall, but we’d then get to pretend it wasn’t our fault, despite the fact that the reason there are migrants in the first place is the US has been working for decades to destabilize and wreck countries in Central America. We own that. And if we aren’t working to our utmost to help these people, the dead children are our fault.


  1. IX-103, the ■■■■ing idiot says

    FYI: Colds can cause fevers and vomiting. Fevers are relatively common with a cold. Vomiting is less common and generally due to the increase in mucus upsetting the stomach. The vomiting is more common in children than adults as the children don’t blow their nose to expel the mucus that way.

    That said the antibiotics are strange for a cold. I would only expect that with complications such as a high fever or difficulty breathing (possibility of progressing to pneumonia). I would imagine CBP facility wasn’t set up to care for sick kids — they probably don’t have warm blankets, chicken soup, hot steam baths, humidifiers, etc. And really the reasons to send a sick kid home don’t apply in this case (rest in a comfortable/familiar environment) so the hospital probably should have just admitted him. Of course they probably don’t have insurance, so what hospital would agree to do that.

    Really if we had either a humane healthcare system or a humane border policy this death could probably be avoided.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    colds often used generically to cover all varieties of mild diseases. Like ear infection causing stuffy nose, etc.
    I doubt they did any kind of bacterial smear (you know what I mean) to determine whether antibiotics would be appropriate. I bet they heartlessly passed him off with a simple Rx to appear to be useful, as few laymen understand the ineffectiveness of antibiotics on viruses, and that colds are typically viruses.

  3. says

    More inhumanity from the Trump administration: ICE left hundreds of migrants in downtown El Paso on Christmas without warning.

    More drop-offs are expected amidst an ongoing government shutdown which has limited ICE’s communication.

    Hundreds of asylum seekers have been left in El Paso, Texas after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began releasing them this week without giving advance notice to local organizations.

    Without contacting local shelters in advance for assistance, ICE officials have reportedly deposited at least 400 asylum seekers at an area adjacent to a Greyhound bus station in the Texas border city since Sunday. That number could exceed 800 on Wednesday as the drop-offs continue, despite a prior pledge from ICE not to mass-release migrants in the city unannounced.

    The asylum seekers were released after arriving in the United States and making contact with U.S. officials. A number have relatives or other contacts elsewhere in the country who they plan to stay with while they await their immigration court dates to address their respective cases. However, those left in El Paso seem to have been abandoned with minimal information or resources and many told volunteers they did not even know which city they were in.

    According to El Paso Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) and other local officials, ICE agents reneged on an October promise to coordinate releases of migrants with area nonprofits and organizations able to assist. Instead of doing so, the agency began depositing hundreds of people in the city’s downtown area, where temperatures have typically averaged around 40 to 45°F this week.

    That left many of the overwhelmingly Central American migrants with nowhere to go, and some seem to have spent Christmas Eve in the parking lot according to local media reports as volunteers rushed to provide food, water, and supplies to keep them warm. Many shelters in the area are at capacity and temporary shelters require an advance notice, something that seemingly did not occur this week. […]

    Cross posted from the Political Madness All the Time thread.

  4. chrislawson says

    As IX-103 says, a “cold” is not really a medical diagnosis, it’s more of a loose term for a mild respiratory infection, usually viral, and colds often cause fevers in children and sometimes cause vomiting. It’s impossible to tell from the (lack of) detail in this story if the death was due to negligence. It’s not even possible to tell from the story if the antibiotics were reasonable to prescribe (as a general rule, antibiortics should not be given for colds, but there are situations, including children of extremely underprivileged backgrounds or for those with existing chronic lung disease, where antibiotics should be given unless you’re confident it’s just a mild viral URTI). Hopefully someone with integrity look into the case.

  5. nomdeplume says

    This could only happen where the refugees have been dehumanised by the President and Fox News, and where the guards hold them in contempt.

  6. dianne says

    Diagnosed with a cold and given a prescription for antibiotics. Where does a refugee in detention get their prescription filled?

  7. nomdeplume says

    “the US has been working for decades to destabilize and wreck countries in Central America” [and South America]. My impression is that the vast majority of Americans are not aware of this fact, and that this kind of ignorance of the imperial behaviour of America since 1945, all over the world, allows Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex to flourish, and for political nonsense, like “Obama caused Isis”, or “we should invade Venezuela”, to be used for propaganda.

  8. wzrd1 says

    First, the child had a cold.
    There are two types of “cold”, bacterial infection and viral infection. Two types of bacteria can cause a “cold” where antibiotics are appropriate and in both cases, can be both resistant to the amoxicillin and cause meningitis.
    There is also viral meningitis, which frequently manifests as a cold, then goes wild. Antibiotics would be utterly inappropriate and any physician prescribing them for such a viral infection should be delicensed and I’ve been championing for that for decades.

    A few tidbits that aren’t available to the public suggest strongly that one had meningitis. The other, uncertain, there are hints of electrolyte imbalance and some other odd readings that I’d need a physician to figure out and likely, doctor would need more testing.

    One big problem in medicine is, children have very little reserve to draw upon when seriously ill, but a high metabolism, doing that maturing thing. Worse, their immune system is phenomenally strong, compared to a middle aged adult, whose immune system still is in its prime, but now beginning to decline in multiple ways.
    That’s a good thing, right?
    Nope! Cytokine storm is a very real thing, it does indeed kill. Overreaction and lack of effective suppression for some serious infections can turn an immune response into a lethal immune response.
    Rarely, thanks to the blood brain barrier, that’s rare in the brain and other immune privileged regions, which then become reservoirs for any viral infection that’s sufficiently virulent. That very immune privilege protects the damned virus.
    Intelligent design, my scrotal contents!

    So, confusing case in one, the other, in my own sad experience, likely one of two bacterial meningitis instances, one form being meningococcal.

    Life is complicated and I rather like it that way, it prevents simpletons from perfecting survival, despite tRump’s alleged advantage.
    He’s declared six of his businesses, consecutively bankrupt, screwing investors, requiring foreign investment, opening more vulnerabilities to law enforcement prosecution, his diet is legendarily poor, his lack of exercise well documented, he’s not going to reach 80, even if he was a billionaire and he isn’t.
    A lone wolf vs a fit human, not a no-brainer as some would assume. As the wolf bites down upon the instinctively raised protective arm, force the lower jaw to the chest and jaw muscle strength loss is nearly entire and the animal will struggle, as its airway is also modestly compromised.
    So, an intelligent mind can defeat such trivial threats, despite how dire they “appear” to be.
    And alas, such minds can still die from the very same damned infections.
    And I withdraw a prior mention of “intelligent design, my scrotal contents” and simply say, ‘intelligent design, my stool contents, rejected by bacteria and fungi, as whatever they produce is typically useful’.

    tldr; could be one was probably meningitis, due to a usual “sore throat” kind of “cold” that would respond to antibiotics, but is resistant to penicillin.
    The other, not really sure, challenges were present, reserve is sparse in that age group and well, I really don’t know, the pathology is just that broad, even with our current technology. Children are returned home to their sick bed in the US, with excellent coverage and the same thing happens occasionally and alas, the sheer number of illegally incarcerated children permit that statistical probability.
    Meaning, everyone doesn’t know one child, everyone suspects second child, medical issue. Cultures and DNA amplification will probably tell the tale and alas, they’re on skeleton staff, so it’ll take a while.
    Thank you, tRumpelstiltskin.