Friday, December 5, 2014

On a Charitable Mission: Physicians Volunteer to Care for Young and Old Crossing the Border

Physicians and other health care workers were the unsung heroes in the Rio Grande Valley this summer, caring for the tens of thousands of children and adults who streamed into the United States from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras via Mexico.

Physicians like Edinburg pediatrician Martin Garza, MD, volunteered in a massive effort to provide medical attention, food, water and showers to the immigrant families. They set up instant triage centers and pop-up clinics staffed with teams to treat the patients, sometimes with assistance that Dr. Garza referred to as a “blessing.”

Eduardo Olivarez with Hidalgo County Health and Human Services in Edinburg said despite lack of federal money to help, “We said heck with it. … We’re just going to take it on and do it on our own. It was amazing.”

Dr. Garza said he was impressed with the local medical community’s willingness to volunteer their time and skills. “They really stepped up,” he said. “We set our political views aside. We were there because we saw the need.”

For more on this story, check out this month’s issue of Texas Medicine magazine.

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