UNMH prepared for surge of migrants needing medical care | KOB 4
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UNMH prepared for surge of migrants needing medical care

Megan Abundis
March 13, 2019 10:15 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mayor Tim Keller says the number of people coming into Albuquerque requires additional physicians from other institutions. UNMH said on Wednesday that it will provide care regardless of someone's ability to pay or immigration status.

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"We will be seeing a surge of 800 to 1,000 migrants into our community sometime this weekend," said David Pitcher, M.D. at UNMH. 

UNMH says anytime there is a flood of people in the community, there may be associated illnesses that need to be treated. Mayor Keller says Albuquerque isn't the permanent home for the migrants, but he wants to ensure that they are healthy before boarding planes, trains or buses.

"We are also looking for medical professionals who are interested in helping out," Keller said. 

Pitcher says they're prepared for a rush, including those who come to the emergency room or pediatrics. 

"We would expect to see some cases of flu, people with bad colds, people with common medical illnesses that may be exacerbated or may be in need of some sort of acute treatment like asthma, diabetes," he said.

Pitcher says the hospital often runs near capacity, but there are emergency plans on standby.

"We should be able to handle even the worst-case scenario surge of patient needs, even if we have to implement one of our surge plans to get that done," he said. 

Currently, UNMH has a list of more than 20 physicians who are willing to volunteer wherever they are needed this weekend.

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Megan Abundis

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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