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Comment & Response
April 24, 2018

Medical Care for Undocumented Immigrants

Author Affiliations
  • 1White Plains, New York
JAMA. 2018;319(16):1727. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.1369

To the Editor Dr Saadi and colleagues1 presented 3 clinical vignettes to make a case for sanctuary hospitals because of “disturbing actions by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents at or near hospitals.” The authors’ premise, however, is weakened by their misrepresentation of the facts.

The authors claimed that Sara Beltran-Hernandez was removed from a hospital in shackles “while she was awaiting emergency brain surgery.” However, according to a follow-up article,2 Ms Beltran-Hernandez had been in federal custody since 2015 for illegally crossing the border. While in detention, she collapsed and was brought to the hospital by ICE agents, where she was found to have a pituitary adenoma. When her condition was stabilized, she was returned to the detention center. This scenario is not nefarious; it is just standard procedure.