Chicago Faces Migrant Health Crisis, Volunteer Med Students Step In

Chicago has received over 19,600 migrants in the past year, leading to a health care crisis as migrants face illness and lack of care. The city was unprepared for the influx and relies heavily on volunteers. Volunteer medical students are working to fill the gap, providing free care at police stations and other locations where migrants are first housed.

The medical students, mostly from Chicago universities, bring supplies in duffel bags and set up impromptu exam rooms to treat issues like infections, trauma, dental problems, and chronic illnesses. They can prescribe medications but are limited in the care they can provide.

Medical student Sara Izquierdo saw the need and started the volunteer group. She said, “If we’re not doing this, I’m not sure anyone will.” One migrant, Abrahan Belizario saw a doctor for the first time in 5 months and said sleeping outside exacerbates his symptoms.

The migrant health crisis highlights gaps in Chicago’s response. Officials admit being unready and are “building the plane as we are flying it.” But dedicated medical students are stepping up to provide care and calling for Chicago to formalize their efforts.

Read the full story here.

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