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Federal medical help arrives in Dearborn and Grand Rapids

In most states, undocumented immigrants with kidney failure have to receive dialysis as an emergency treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Some advocates say kidney transplants for undocumented immigrants would be a cheaper way to treat the problem.
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In most states, undocumented immigrants with kidney failure have to receive dialysis as an emergency treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Some advocates say kidney transplants for undocumented immigrants would be a cheaper way to treat the problem.

Federal help officially arrived at two Michigan hospitals today. The Department of Defense has sent two teams of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists to hospitals in Dearborn and Grand Rapids.

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi is President of Spectrum Health West Michigan, which is receiving some of that help. He said the hospital system is already overwhelmed with patients. It has had to delay 11 hundred surgeries in recent months and denied 700 transfer requests from other hospitals.

“One of the reasons that people should care about this even if they’re not terribly personally concerned about COVID, is it could impact any other part of your health. And then when you look at the caregivers, people are really struggling. This is needless death, day after day.”

Elmouchi and other hospital leaders say the vast majority of COVID patients in their hospitals are unvaccinated.

Dustin Dwyer is a reporter for a new project at Michigan Radio that will look at improving economic opportunities for low-income children. Previously, he worked as an online journalist for Changing Gears, as a freelance reporter and as Michigan Radio's West Michigan Reporter. Before he joined Michigan Radio, Dustin interned at NPR's Talk of the Nation, wrote freelance stories for The Jackson Citizen-Patriot and completed a Reporting & Writing Fellowship at the Poynter Institute.