The Immigrant Welcome Center in Brownsville is in need of doctors, nurses and medical assistants since they only have one volunteer with medical experience.
For the past week, 24-year-old Alyssa Hernandez gets off work at 6 p.m. from L V Imaging and goes straight to the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville.
She has been going every day to help immigrants at the emergency shelter there.
I go straight directly to the medical area and I already have patients waiting for me there, Hernandez said. For things like diaper rash, we see a lot because there are a lot of families that come with babies.”
Hernandez is the only volunteer with any type of medical experience but she is not a licensed doctor.
Therefore, there is nobody there able to prescribe medication.
Especially when I see the three month old with a fever, when there is a fever there is an infection so we need to treat them with antibiotic, Hernandez said. We don’t have that here.”
The recent college grad helps to care for immigrants just released from Border Patrol holding facilities.
In Border Patrol stations, undocumented immigrants are screened for lice, scabies and chicken pox.
The undocumented immigrants are not given comprehensive medical exams.
Some people see it as a really big problem but we have to put that aside we have to be more human about it and just help them, Hernandez said. If we were in their position we would want to be helped like that also.”
Many immigrants come with injuries as a result of the dangerous journey they underwent to get to the United States.
Those injuries are often left untreated for days.
Infections and fevers that left untreated can lead to serious complications.
Alyssa also fears that an immigrant will come with a contagious disease.
“Obviously we have to take care of them medically because we also have to protect ourselves especially like with H1N1,” Hernandez said.
One case of H1N1 has already been reported out of the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
Hernandez has yet to treat an immigrant with a serious injury or condition but it remains a concern.
For those interested in volunteering call 956- 542-2501.