LA doctors call for better healthcare for migrant children at the border

Denise Dador Image
Thursday, January 10, 2019
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After the deaths of two migrant children at the border, dozens of local doctors and healthcare professionals issued a call for help on the steps of LAC+USC Medical Center.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Physicians at L.A. County USC Medical Center held a rally to express their concerns, hoping their message also reaches those in the local immigrant community.

After the deaths of two migrant children, 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo and 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, dozens of local doctors and healthcare professionals created a call to action on the steps of LAC+USC Medical Center.

Pediatric resident Maria Martez Gomez emigrated here from Colombia 11 years ago.

Gomez said, "We are asking for more supervision of health for those kids coming in from the border. We are willing to provide our services to them so that we can hopefully prevent kids from dying."

She and many of her colleagues believe healthcare is being used as leverage to restrict border access.

Internal medicine resident Dr. Lisa Gantz visited a detention center in Texas.

"It was really disturbing to see the conditions in these detention centers," Gantz said. "These kids get to spend less than an hour outside each day. I got to meet and spend time with some of these children. And it's just devastating."

These local doctors aren't just working with physicians around LA County. They're working with doctors all around the state.

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis wants to make sure those who are undocumented and live in LA County are not afraid to seek healthcare.

"This is about healthcare. It's about giving them access to that," Solis said, "I'm also encouraged that there's a lot of families who live in the area that aren't aware that they can come here to the county to our clinics and to our hospitals to receive any medical attention for them or their loved ones."