The health impacts of family separation
Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation, parent organization to Bellevue and other public hospitals, wrote the following letter on Thursday, following a press briefing.
Over the last few days, I have received messages from distraught physicians, social workers, and other health care providers in our health system who are understandably horrified by the unjust treatment of immigrants across our county. They are seeing first-hand the serious health impact to children of immigrants who have been torn apart from their families — and not at our border, but here in New York.
After separation, some of these children have ended up in our Emergency Departments accompanied by their government-appointed guardians who are often unfamiliar with the children, have no access to medical records, and have no way of getting in touch with a family member to get a medical history.
We have seen children as young as five and have treated teenagers who have presented with signs of anxiety, trauma and stress-related illness, including one extreme case of a teen with suicidal ideations after being separated from his mother.