New Report on Conflicts of Interest for Medical Staff in Immigration Detention Centers

A report on the difficulty of providing quality health care to detainees in the United States immigration detention system was released today by PHR. The report, Dual Loyalties: The Challenges of Providing Professional Health Care to Immigration Detainees,” highlights the conflicts that arise when health professionals are torn between their duties to their patients and their obligations to an employer, government, insurer, or the military – a common problem in immigration detention centers, prisons, and other secure environments. The consequences of dual loyalties can be devastating for patients. The report chronicles the story of one immigrant from Ecuador who sought medical help for persistent headaches that lasted more than a month while in detention. After only receiving Tylenol from medical staff and no other treatment or screening, she fell from a bunk bed and was taken to a local hospital. At the hospital she was diagnosed with an infection of the brain that is common among Latin American immigrants, and died shortly after. A simple screening might have prevented her untimely death, but for reasons that remain unclear, the medical staff never ordered one for her. Read all about “dual loyalty” conflicts in the Bradley Manning case in The Guardian’s article which quotes PHR’s Christy Fujio.

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