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Volunteers Focus on Humanitarian Effort

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Posted: Jun 26, 2014 9:28 PM

Updated: Jun 30, 2014 3:01 PM

McALLEN - Volunteers at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen are offering transportation, meals and medical treatment to dozens of illegal immigrants being released by Border Patrol.

The volunteer group continues to grow at the church. They are helping Central Americans crossing the border illegally. The city of McAllen is part of the effort.

Kevin Pagan, McAllen's emergency manager and city attorney, said he is not concerned with any possible liability.

"Providing humanitarian relief is our primary focus. Being concerned about liability for providing it is not a significant concern to us, because it's secondary to the humanitarian relief that presents itself," Pagan said.

The concern lies with volunteer doctors, physician assistants and students. They are the ones providing medical treatment to the immigrants.

"We're trying to see what else the Texas Medical Board can come up with as far as regulations," said Frank Amriz, medical staff volunteer.

Amriz said the medical personnel should be protected from liability by the volunteer act of 1977.

"We notified the Texas Medical Board of what we're doing. We've also been in contact with the TMA through one of our doctors, and so far everyone is very supportive," Amriz said.

Immigrants don't have to sign any release forms to get treatment.

Everything from Band-Aids to over-the-counter drugs are free. The immigrants also get free H1N1 vaccines and some prescription treatments.

"Sometimes we put them on antibiotics when we think it's appropriate. We work with the local pharmacy," Amriz said.

The volunteers will continue to provide the hospitality, despite questions with legality.

Medical volunteers at Sacred Heart Catholic Church said they're mostly treating people for dehydration, constipation and malnourishment.

Topics: mcallen, volunteer, group, city, kevin pagan, immaculate heart church, fran amriz

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