SAN DIEGO–0U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to ports of entry along the California border with Mexico provided medical assistance to 967 travelers in distress that entered a port of entry from Mexico, in fiscal year 2018.
“The care, compassion, and professionalism shown by these officers is exemplified by the lives that have been affected due to their quick response and efficient care,” said Pete Flores, CBP director of field operations for San Diego. “These officers are called upon to assist in the delivery of a newborn or to perform life-saving CPR on a critically ill traveler and I am extremely proud of their dedication and service to the community.”
CBP officers responded to a variety of medical emergencies at the ports of entry. These included: more than six CPR events; the delivery of five babies; assisting multiple heart attack and stroke victims; and aided several who had been shot or stabbed while in Mexico. The travelers varied in age from newborns to an 85-year-old. Most travelers were simply entering the United States, but some were violators of U.S. laws that required medical care during their detention with CBP.
A few significant medical events are highlighted below:
In May, CBP officers at the San Ysidro port of entry responded to a traveler in distress who had no pulse and they began CPR. Officers continued CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived and care was turned over to them. The traveler was transported to a local hospital with a stable pulse.
During a two-week period in June at the Otay Mesa port of entry, the same CBP officer assisted emergency medical personnel with the delivery of two babies on separate occasions. Both mothers and babies were transported to a local hospital for further care. Both babies and their parents returned to the port of entry to thank the officer involved.
In August, CBP officers assigned to the Calexico East port of entry responded to a woman who was in labor inside a vehicle parked in the inspection lanes. The officer began providing medical assistance to the woman and delivered a healthy baby girl before emergency medical personnel could arrive.
In September, CBP officers from the Tecate port of entry responded to a traveler in distress. The initial assessment revealed that the traveler was pregnant and in active labor. Officers took the woman to a private area and before emergency medical personnel could arrive, delivered a baby girl.
In addition to their regular duties at a port of entry, CBP officers volunteer to participate in the Emergency Medical Response Program as an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) or as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Those who volunteer at the EMR level, attend a two-week training course provided through the American Safety and Health Institute which includes patient assessment, vital signs, CPR, bleeding control care, and other basic patient care. Those that volunteer at the EMT level participate in a six-week course that includes practical exercises and practical exams. All EMTs are certified through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and the State of California.