By Marion Murphy, Lancaster resident and registered nurse (not employed at AV Hospital)
As someone in the healthcare field, and a long-time resident of the Antelope Valley, I wanted to share a video with you [see below]. This gives some perspective on chairman of the hospital board Dr. Abdallah Farrukh’s proposal to turn Antelope Valley Hospital into a “tourist birthing center.”
AV Hospital is a district hospital. Although it has not been directly supported by taxes in years, it is still a community hospital in the best sense of the phrase.
It is OUR hospital. It is not Dr. Farrukh’s hospital, or the board’s hospital. It belongs to ALL of us in the AV, and we should have our voices heard.
The September 8th edition of the AV Press showed that over 95% of readers oppose this idea. Their reasons are varied, but the general consensus is that bringing foreign nationals on tourist visas to Lancaster, to live until they deliver their babies at AV Hospital, and to provide instant citizenship to these babies, is not beneficial for anyone except the babies and their parents.
These children, when they grow up, will be eligible to move to the USA and live here, receiving all the benefits and privileges of other citizens. If the mothers or babies require intensive care, the State of California is ready and willing to pay, and the mother and baby would qualify for this care – free of charge.
Our elected officials owe it to us, their constituents, to provide us with transparency in all their actions related to the job they were elected to. Has elected board member Dr. Farrukh been morally transparent in his dealings with these Chinese medical tourism agencies? Would he have told us anything until it was too late, if not forced by members of the nursing staff? As a neurosurgeon, is he able to even say on television about “if somebody knocks on my door to want to deliver a baby, I cannot say no”? The answer to all these questions is a resounding, emphatic, NO.[On 9/11/13], the City of Lancaster, The County of Los Angeles, and the AV Hospital Board all participated in touring Chinese birth tourist agency officials through the hospital buildings, including the Women and Infants Pavilion.
Despite the opposition of the hospital nursing staff, medical staff, and other employees, despite the rejection by the community at large, LA County Sheriff deputies to escorted these officials to the hospital, where Dr. Farrukh guided them throughout the hospital premises.
Obviously, the opinions of our community mean nothing to Parris, Farrukh, and the rest of the hospital board, who can’t see any farther than the dollars being dangled in front of them.
Please watch this video from a PBS station on the phenomenon of reproductive tourism in the USA. See how you feel about AV Hospital participating. If you feel, as do many nurses AND physicians at AVH, please contact your elected representatives on the hospital board, city councils, county board of supervisors, state of California, and the US Congress.
Tell them in no uncertain terms that US citizenship should not be for sale, and that AV Hospital belongs to us, the residents and taxpayers of the Antelope Valley.
Speak up now, while there is still time to stop this.
Note: Video playback is best in Google Chrome. If you’re having problems viewing the video in another browser, you can view the video directly from the PBS website at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365013663/.
Editor’s Note: We have contacted Antelope Valley Hospital officials for clarification on the birth tourism issue, but have not received a response so far.