'How is this even allowed in the world?': NY nurse returns from border mission aghast at conditions

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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Kristin Thorne spoke with the Long Island nurse helping to treat migrants from Central America who are attempting to seek asylum.

LEVITTOWN, Long Island (WABC) -- A nurse from Long Island has just returned from a medical mission at the US-Mexico border helping to treat migrants from Central America who are attempting to seek asylum.

Nina Ng, of Levittown, is an Assistant Director of Nurses at Syosset Hospital and spent five days in the border town of Reynosa, Mexico.

"We just set up outdoors at a park, and we just start seeing patients," she said.

ALSO READ | Nearly 3 dozen migrants discovered crammed inside moving truck in Texas

Ng went to Reynosa with Global Response Management, an international non-governmental organization.

She said she treated patients who appeared to have cancerous tumors, seizure disorders, and mental health issues.

"A lot of the children were suffering from clearly mental health issues that were either undiagnosed, not being addressed, and the parents didn't know how to deal with them," she said.

Ng said she treated several unaccompanied minors, including a 5-year-old and a 14-year-old, who was suffering from neurological issues.

She believes she treated approximately 200 patients in the five days she was in Mexico, there with two other medical volunteers.

Ng has also volunteered on humanitarian missions in Haiti, Iraq, and Bangladesh, and she said what stands out to her about her trip to Reynosa is the rawness of the emotions she witnessed from the patients she was treating.

She heard their stories of being kidnapped, raped, or assaulted, and of their family members being killed.

"It was an emotional trip for me," she said. "I'd be able to do my job during the day, but sometimes I'd find myself in the hotel, just break down and cry, and mentally think, how is this even allowed in the world?"

Ng returned on June 13 from Reynosa, where last weekend, a group of gunmen killed 14 people.

ALSO READ | Record number of migrant children held in Border Patrol custody as cases climb

Mexican authorities said the victims were innocent citizens and were not involved in any criminal activity.

Ng said she hopes to return to Reynosa as soon as possible and plans to bring clothing and medical supplies to donate to migrants.

She encourages other healthcare professionals to join her.

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