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Last updateSat, 24 Mar 2018 12am







    Friday, March 23, 2018-5:19:32A.M.






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Guam Memorial Hospital in ‘really bad shape’

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Legislators and stakeholders were brought to tears at a budget hearing on Wednesday as a pediatric physician recounted the heartbreaking effects of the public hospital’s perpetual lack of funds and outdated equipment.

“Our ventilators — this equipment is 20 years old. This is what we use to keep our patients breathing long enough to treat them when they can’t do it on their own. I hadn’t seen this equipment since I was in Africa for a medical mission,” Dr. Kozue Shimabukuro stated, as she described the daily realities of physicians and patients at Guam Memorial Hospital.

“You can imagine the shock I felt when I first walked through the hospital doors. In the (U.S. mainland), you would never see that equipment — I can tell you that we are in really bad shape.”

Shimabukuro, a pediatric critical care specialist, came to Guam just four months ago.

She joined other physicians and GMH administrators in talking to lawmakers at a hearing on GMH’s proposed budget for the next financial year, which includes a request for a government of Guam subsidy of about $36.4 million. In fiscal year 2016, GMH received a subsidy of almost $50 million, which GovGuam funded through borrowing.

Shimabukuro struggled to make it through her testimony as she told legislators the horrible situation of a 2-year-old girl currently being treated at the hospital’s pediatric unit.

“I have a patient right now who is bleeding to death,” Shimabukuro said. “The medical community has gotten together to save this child, but we may not be able to, because we lack one piece of equipment: an endoscope that would let us see where the bleeding is coming from.”

“The procedure could have been done yesterday, and there are treatments I know I can do, but GMH has never had the money to buy equipment for children. Her mother asked me, ‘Am I going to see my daughter again?’ and all I could say was ‘I don’t know.’”