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Inside a weathered green group home in southern New Jersey, Yosary grew weaker and weaker. She felt tired all the time, and when she got out of bed in the morning, she sometimes became so dizzy she needed to lie back down. Bruises started appearing all over her body. She craved ice, chewing cups of it whenever she could.

For months, the slender 15-year-old, who’d fled Honduras with her 2-year-old son, had been reporting her symptoms to the shelter’s staff. But they dismissed her pleas for help, she said: She was dizzy because she’d just stood up too fast. Her bruises? She probably bumped into something and didn’t remember. Chewing ice was a bad habit she needed to break.

By the time someone finally took her to one of the shelter’s pediatricians last summer, Yosary was in such bad shape she had to be hooked up to an IV at a local hospital. The pediatrician, Elana Levites-Agababa, recognized the telltale signs of severe anemia, which, untreated, could have resulted in heart failure and damage to other organs. The staff should have known — the teen’s history of anemia was documented in the shelter’s records.

…continue reading ‘Pediatrician Who Treated Immigrant Children Describes Pattern of Lapses in Medical Care in Shelters’

Thumb image via ProPublica – Juan Bernabeu special to ProPublica

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