Death by Care


Death by Care

Not surprisingly, the just enough approach to health care in detention has disastrous consequences for detainees. Many migrants need more than just enough health care. Since 2010, there have been at least 74 deaths, including Moises’, in immigration detention. ICE has released deaths reviews in 52 of these cases. Analyses of these reviews suggest that substandard care contributed or led to at least 23 of the deaths (see Code Red). And in almost all of the cases there were signs of unsafe and shoddy medical care practices.

There are four particular medical care failings that stand out as leading to detainee deaths: 1) botched emergency responses, 2) mediocre care by facility and medical staff, 3) excessive delays in the delivery of care; and 4) holding detainees suffering from mental illnesses in isolation. Some specific cases include: a nurse ignoring acute symptoms of a heart attack; the misdiagnosing and mismanagement of congestive heart failure; an inexplicable three-day delay in transferring a detainee with dangerously low oxygen to a hospital; complications from initially untreated alcohol withdrawal; poorly-managed hypertensive cardiovascular disease; an officer refusing to call for emergency help, leading to a delay in responding to symptoms of a heart attack; and the solitary confinement of detainees with psychosocial disabilities who subsequently committed suicide.


Below is a partial list migrants who have died as a result of negligent medical care since 2010:

Amra Militec

•Irene Bamenga

Anibal Ramirez- Ramirez

•Mauro Rivera- Romero

•Pablo Gracida- Conte

•Fernando Dominguez- Valivia

•Evalin-Ali Mandza

•Tiombe Kimana Carlos

•Marjorie Annmarie Bell

•Peter George Carlysle Rockwell

•Raul Ernesto Morales Ramos

•Jose Manuel Azurdia Hernandez

•Thongchay Saengsiri

•José Leonardo Lemus Rajo

•Igor Zyazin

•Olubunmi Toyin Joshua

For more information about the deaths listed above see Code RedSystemic IndifferenceFatal Neglect.


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.