Doctors seek investigation of 'entirely preventable' outbreaks killing kids in border camps


The group of doctors warned that poor conditions at Trump's border camps are 'increasing health risks to children.'

Doctors who examined autopsy reports on three children who died in U.S. custody slammed the Trump administration for the "poor conditions" at border camps, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

After reviewing the autopsies, the doctors concluded that the deaths were caused in part by the flu, and added that the wretched conditions of border camps "may be amplifying the spread of influenza and other infectious diseases, increasing health risks to children."

The children who died in part because of the flu were only 2, 6, and 16 years old.

The situation is so dire that the doctors encouraged Congress to open an investigation.

"With so many lives at risk, these issues are worthy of congressional investigation," the letter stated. "Another influenza season is around the corner, and there are other types of infectious diseases that pose a threat to detained populations. Timely action is critical."

In an interview with the Post, Johns Hopkins' Joshua Sharfstein said Trump officials "may be overlooking the risks of outbreaks that are entirely preventable."

The doctors, including specialists from Harvard and Johns Hopkins, sent their findings to Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), the chairs of the House appropriations subcommittees overseeing Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, respectively.

After more than a decade of no child deaths in Customs and Border Protection custody, six children have died in the past several months under Trump's watch, according to the Post. Lawyers, doctors, and members of Congress have repeatedly raised the alarm about the conditions of the border camps where Trump locks up children.

In June, lawyers representing detained children revealed that the children were forced to sleep on cold concrete floors and fed uncooked frozen meals. Some had gone weeks without bathing. A doctor accompanying the lawyers compared the border camps to "torture facilities."

Children themselves complained of being hungry "all the time," and drew pictures of themselves frowning and locked away in cages.

In a recent congressional hearing, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was outraged about reports of "a child is sitting in their own feces."

Republicans seem considerably less concerned about children getting sick and dying in U.S. custody. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) flippantly compared overcrowded conditions at border camps to too many people at a Thanksgiving dinner.

Holiday dinners are not known for children dying of preventable outbreaks, which is what doctors say is happening at the border.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.