I've reported on two deaths in the last day of immigrants in detention. Now Dan Kowalski over at Bender's Immigration Bulletin is carrying a story from the Los Angeles Daily Journal on yet another death of an ill immigrant in detention.
The Daily Journal's Sandra Hernandez tells of Victoria Arellano, an AIDS patient who was put in ICE custody in San Diego and denied the handful of prescription drugs needed to fight the disease. According to Hernandez's report, Arellano was denied both medicine and access to a doctor for more than two months before succumbing to the disease. Arellano also was shackled to a bed during the jailing.
The description of Arellano's final days is harrowing:
Arellano's final days were spent in a dormitory-style cell built to hold 50 men but often houses as many as 80.
Arellano's care fell to fellow detainees, who soaked their bath towels in water to cool her fever and used a cardboard box as a makeshift trash can to gather her vomit.
"We all asked the guards for help, to take Victoria to the infirmary but no one did anything," said Oscar Santander, a fellow detainee.
"The last week was the worst," Santander said. "She couldn't stand so we took turns taking her to the bathroom. She was vomiting and had terrible diarrhea."
Arellano was taken to the infirmary and on July 13 given drugs to treat nausea and amoxicillin, an antibiotic, according to a prescription signed by Jeff Brinkley, a senior nurse practitioner assigned to the San Pedro detention center.
Medical experts said amoxicillin is not used to treat AIDS-related infections.
Arellano couldn't keep the drugs down and began vomiting blood, Santander said.By nightfall, Arellano looked so pale and weak that 80 detainees staged a protest, ignoring an order to get in line for the nightly head count.
Shortly after that, Arellano was dead. ICE officials are denying they are failing to provide care. But I have reported on three deaths in two days in Texas, Rhode Island and California. And lawyers and advocacy groups around the country are complaining about systematic problems. These types of reports should be extremely rare. When they are happening every day, that's called a scandal.