Health Risks for the FLDS Children

by Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - We haven't heard many details about the kids who arrived at High Sky Children's Ranch last week.

We know that caretakers are working to meet their emotional and physical needs.

NewsWest 9 spoke with a local pediatrician about the health risks they may face coming out of such a sheltered environment.

"Once they get out into the world, they'll have some risks."

Dr. Debbie reese says these kids may be at risk for many different illnesses of various threat levels.

"They are at a higher risk for diseases that are in the community now. There's always chicken pox in the community, there's always some whooping cough in the community. Those are the things that are the most common," Reese said.

But for children who haven't been vaccinated other diseases like measles, mumps, or meningitis can cause more serious problems.

"There are more serious diseases like Hemopholis influenza that can cause meningitis, that if these children have never had immunizations, they're at a higher risk for," Reese said

If a young woman is pregnant who hasn't been vaccinated, and catches one of these diseases it could cause defects for the child, and health issues for the young, possibly under-developed mother.

"It puts more stress on their body. Delivery for one thing, their pelvis may be small, they may be more likely to have a C-Section, a lot of people who are still growing are more likely to be anemic, more likely to have nutritional deficiencies," Reese said.

Even if the children get shots right away, it will take several months for them to develop an immunity.

"If you've got somebody who wasn't immunized, you're going to be more worried about them having RSV or Hemopholis meningitis, polio, measles, those kinds of things," Reese added.

Dr. Reese says her biggest concern isn't necessarily for their physical well being.

"As a Pediatrician, I've been mostly concerned about their psychological welfare, being separated from their families," she said. "I would worry there would be a huge amount of anxiety. And in kids that can manifest as headaches, abdominal pain, sleep disorders, they may have problems going to sleep, they may have nightmares."

And again, this just emphasizes the trauma that these kids have been through leaving a home and lifestyle that we may not understand.

Over the past week, we've tried to contact High Sky and they haven't given us any info about the kids, so we still don't know many details.