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On My Mind
November 2016

The Traveler

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Arizona, Tucson
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(11):1041. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.1056

A bed rolls down the hall of our pediatric intensive care unit, trailed by an entourage of health care workers. The border-crosser must have arrived. Earlier this morning, our team was notified that an adolescent girl had been picked up in the desert and was not in good shape. She must have been alone, abandoned as she traveled north.

In the room, she is wide-eyed, panicked, and breathing slowly, deeply—Kussmaul respirations caused by severe dehydration, I realize. Finally, she is stabilized. The bicarbonate drips. The monitors are quiet.