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Terminally ill child evacuated from Afghanistan dies in US custody

A 6-year-old child with a terminal illness who was evacuated from Afghanistan in the midst of the U.S. withdrawal in 2021 died in U.S. custody last week, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The unaccompanied child died June 13 from “severe encephalopathy,” which is a general term for diseases and disorders that affect the brain.

The unnamed child, who had a preexisting terminal illness, came into the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in August 2021 and was immediately hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, an HHS spokesperson said. 

The 6-year-old was later transferred to the HSC Pediatric Center for around-the-clock skilled nursing care. Earlier this month, they were admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s National Hospital for respiratory support after an “acute medical complication.”

“Medical treatment was provided according to the parents’ wishes and aligned with the recommendations of the hospital’s health care provider team,” the HHS spokesperson said.

“Our heart goes out to the family at this difficult time. ORR is working with them to provide comfort and assist with arrangements as appropriate,” they added.

The child is the third to die in HHS custody this year, according to CBS News. A 17-year-old migrant from Honduras died at an HHS shelter for unaccompanied minors in Florida last month, and a 4-year-old Honduran migrant in a “medically fragile” state died in Michigan in March, CBS reported.

Source: The Hill

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