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.
Cheryl Krist, pictured with her husband Joseph and her service dog Bocci in Stuyvesant Town last year (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Last summer, Town & Village published an interview with Cheryl Krist, a Stuyvesant Town dog owner, who spoke about how her service pooch, Bocci, once saved her life. Krist, who walks with the aid of a cane due to a neurological condition that gives her tremors, had fallen backwards into a dip on the road after becoming started by a wild turkey. (This was in a rural road in Pennsylvania.) When Krist was unable to get back up, Bocci blocked his owner when a car came down the road, by standing up on his hind legs in front of her. Meanwhile, Krist also mentioned then as well as in prior interviews with this newspaper that she’s often had Bocci denied entry to neighborhood stores.
On Sunday, The Post published a story about two disabled New Yorkers who’ve filed lawsuits against various businesses over access issues, including Krist, who, according to the paper, has filed a total of seven.
Reached at home this week, Krist (who recently moved from Stuyvesant Town to Riverdale), declined to get into detail about specifics for the cases that are pending. One, however, she said she won last year against Gracefully. The store paid her a sum she said she isn’t allowed to discuss as well as a fine to the city. (A call to Gracefully wasn’t returned.) Another suit, against a local diner, she lost. But, according to Krist, there’s never a reason to deny her dog entry because Bocci wears a jacket that identifies him as a service dog.
“It saves a lot of questions,” she said.