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A California Reader Asks How Health Care Becomes "Critical" To Those Who Have Never Had It
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May 29, 2008, 05:00 AM
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05/28/08 - An Oregon Reader Warns Of Multilingual Pitfalls

From: Maria Hansen (e-mail her)

In one of what it describes as its "occasional articles" in its "Life in the Shadows" series, the Los Angeles Times has come up with an interesting angle on a clinic specializing in Maya medical care.[LA Clinic Offers Care For Mayas, by Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2008]

According to reporter Gorman:

"Milton Alvarez, Guatemala`s consul general in Los Angeles, said healthcare is critical for Guatemalans living here, especially the Mayas, who may never have had regular access to doctors.

Members of the community depend on Clinica Romero to offer health services in their language. Tens of thousands of Mayas, including Kanjobal, Quiche and Mam, live in the area, primarily concentrated in the Pico-Union and Westlake neighborhoods."

And:

"Like many immigrants, some Mayas are reluctant to seek medical care for fear of being deported or because they do not have insurance and don`t know that they can receive free services at Clinica Romero. The clinic receives private donations, as well as Los Angeles County, state and federal funds."

My question is simple: Why, if medical care was unknown to Mayas in Guatemala, does it become "critical" once they illegally reach the U.S.?

Hansen is a fifth generation Californian. Her previous letters about illegal marriage scams and alien murders that could have been avoided are here and here.