Texas – An internal investigation has revealed that a medically vulnerable 8-year-old girl, Anadith Tanay Reyes Álvarez, who died last month at the Texas border while in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol was experiencing high fever. The inquiry has discovered that despite suffering from a fever peaking at 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit, she was not taken to a hospital on the day prior to her death.
The investigation, conducted by Customs and Border Protection, further revealed that a contracted nurse practitioner overlooked critical documents and dismissed the pleas of Anadith’s mother for an ambulance in the crucial hours preceding the child’s tragic seizure and subsequent death. This occurred on the ninth day of Anadith’s detainment by the agency.
Born in Panama to Honduran parents, Anadith, along with her parents and two siblings, crossed into Texas on May 9. A routine medical screening took place on the following day as part of the intake process. During this evaluation, her parents communicated Anadith’s complex medical history, which included congenital heart disease and sickle cell anemia.
Despite the submission of her detailed medical history, it was found that no staff were cognizant of the chronically ill 8-year-old Anadith’s health conditions on the day of her death, May 17. This was outlined in an initial statement issued by the Office of Professional Responsibility under Customs and Border Protection following their investigation into the unfortunate incident.
In a troubling revelation, a nurse practitioner admitted to ignoring several requests made by Anadith’s mother, Mabel Álvarez, to summon an ambulance or have her child transported to a hospital on that fateful day. This was corroborated by Álvarez, who had previously stated that her appeals for medical aid had been repeatedly rejected.
The internal investigation, as of now, is chiefly scrutinizing the sequence of “events and interactions” that transpired from the moment Anadith and her family arrived at the Harlingen U.S. Border Patrol Station on May 14 for medical isolation until her eventual hospitalization and subsequent death.
The Texas border incident could have been prevented
In the period following her family’s arrival on the night of May 14, CBP-contracted medical staff interacted with Anadith and her mother approximately nine times, addressing complaints of fever, flu-like symptoms, and pain, according to an official statement.
The child received prescribed doses of Oseltamivir, commonly known by the brand name Tamiflu. Medical personnel further administered a regimen of ice packs, fever-reducing medications, and a cold shower to manage her high fever, which spiked to 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit in the early hours of May 16, one day prior to her untimely death.
However, the statement revealed that despite the girl’s deteriorating health, her mother’s increasing worries, and the intensive treatment efforts, the contracted medical team did not escalate her case to a hospital for advanced care. Fever is generally considered when the temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees, and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests immediate pediatric consultation if a child’s fever persistently rises over 104 degrees.
The internal inquiry disclosed that the contracted medical staff did not seek advice from on-call doctors, including pediatric specialists, concerning Anadith’s condition, symptoms, or treatment plan. Furthermore, they neglected to record numerous medical interactions, emergency interventions to reduce fever, and medicine administrations.
Anadith’s hospital admission only took place on May 17, after her mother, following multiple visits, brought her daughter, appearing to have a seizure, to the medical staff shortly before 2 p.m. The girl became unresponsive, leading medical personnel to call for emergency medical services and begin CPR using an automated external defibrillator, which did not suggest defibrillation, according to the statement.
Anadith was admitted to the hospital after 2 p.m. and tragically passed away at 2:50 p.m., less than an hour later. The girl had consulted with a nurse practitioner four times earlier that day, citing symptoms of a stomach ache, nausea, and breathing difficulties. The statement indicated that during these consultations, the nurse practitioner rejected three or four pleas from Anadith’s mother to summon an ambulance or transport her child to a hospital.
In an additional event earlier that day, around 10:30 a.m., another contracted medical professional handed over a collection of documents from the family’s possessions to the nurse practitioner, who declined to review the papers. The statement did not provide further clarification about the nature of these documents.