Virginia Rogers, Secretary, South Plains College Vocational Nursing Department
Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas has the second busiest maternity ward in the country with almost 16,000 new babies arriving each year.
A recent patient survey indicated that 70 percent of the women who gave birth at Parkland in the first three months of 2006 were illegal immigrants.That's 11,200 anchor babies born every year just in Dallas. According to the article, the hospital spent $70.7 million delivering 15,938 babies in 2004 but managed to end up with almost $8 million dollars in surplus funding. Medicaid kicked in $34.5 million, Dallas County taxpayers kicked in $31.3 million and the feds tossed in another $9.5 million.
The average patient in Parkland 's maternity wards is 25 years old, married and giving birth to her second child. She is also an illegal immigrant. By law, pregnant women cannot be denied medical care based on their immigration status or ability to pay.
Parkland Memorial Hospital has nine prenatal clinics. NINE.
The Dallas Morning News article followed a Hispanic woman who was a patient at one of the clinics and pregnant with her third child---her previous two were also born at Parkland . Her first two deliveries were free and the Mexican native was grateful because it would have cost $200 to have them in Mexico.
Another subject of the article was born at Parkland in 1986 shortly after her mother entered the U.S. illegally---now she is having her own child there as well. (That's right, she's technically a U.S. citizen.) These women receive free prenatal care including medication, nutrition, birthing classes and child care classes. They also get freebies such as car seats, bottles, diapers and formula.
Because these women are illegal immigrants, they do not have to provide any sort of legitimate identification---no proof of income. An American citizen would have to provide a social security number which would reveal their annual income---an illegal immigrant need only claim to be poor and the hospital must take them at their word.
"My husband is a pilot for the United States Navy (yes, he fought in Iraq) and while the health care is good, we Navy wives don't get any of these perks! Car seats? Diapers? Not so much. So my question is this: Does our public medical care system treat illegal immigrants better than American citizens? Yes it does!
Their (the illegals) medical care is free---simply because they are illegal immigrants? Once again, there is no way to verify their income.
The illegal immigrant patients complain about hospital staff not speaking Spanish. In this AP story, the author speaks with a woman who is upset that she had to translate comments from the hospital staff into Spanish for her husband. The doctor was trying to explain the situation to the family and the mother was forced to translate for her husband who only spoke Spanish. This was apparently a great injustice to her.
In an attempt to create a Spanish-speaking staff, Parkland Hospital is now providing incentives in the form of extra pay for applicants who speak Spanish. Additionally, medical students at the University of Texas Southwestern for which Parkland Hospital is the training facility will now have a Spanish language requirement added to their already jammed-packed curriculum. No other school in the country boasts such a ridiculous multi-semester (multicultural) requirement.