Local hospital helping refugees

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The U.S. is being urged to take in more refugees. (WPVI)

The U.S. is being urged to take in more refugees.

Only a few thousand have come so far, but some have settled in Philadelphia.

And local hospitals are looking after their health.

For them, Einstein's Community Practice Center may be one of their first stops.

It has one of three area wellness clinics where every immigrant gets mandatory medical screenings, and follow up health care.

Dr. Matthew Behme, the center's director, says many Syrian refugees were originally Iraqi nationals who first fled religious violence in their homeland, then fled again, as ISIS swept across Iraq and Syria.

Many received death threats because they helped U.S. forces in Iraq.

They often left in a hurry.

"They left in the middle of the night, they left their car in the driveway in front of their house," Behme said.

Dr. Behme says few have medical records.

And they haven't been able to stay on top of chronic diseases like high blood pressure or diabetes.

Doctors frequently see non-contagious tuberculosis, hepatitis B, intestinal parasites and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"They've seen things no human being should have to see. They've seen their children bombed in the street, their daughters raped, their fathers tortured," Behme said.

The immigrants receive mental health care here, but the fear that gripped them in their homelands doesn't go away easily.

Despite their ordeals, Dr.Behme says they really want to be part of the American dream.

"They're teachers, doctors, pharmacists, engineers, small business owners. They're family people," Behme said.

Dr. Behme says the refugees now include Christian Pakistanis, escaping targeted violence there.

He hopes Americans can keep an open mind about the immigrants, realizing they want to raise happy, healthy families, too.

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