The Guam Medical Association, which is comprised of hundreds of doctors, has revealed that workers at Guam Memorial Hospital have been receiving treatment at American Medical Center for “a multitude of upper respiratory and pulmonary diseases” linked to the mold and other hazards of the ailing GMH facility. In response, the attorney general has opened a criminal inquiry. And in response to the doctors, Adelup is claiming the governor is being targeted on this issue because she’s a woman.
“The increased hospital employee illnesses have occurred since the significant water contamination caused by hospital structural damage suffered due to Supertyphoon Mawar in May 2023,” GMA executive director Pramilla Sullivan wrote to the attorney general of Guam on behalf of AMC doctors Hoa Nguyen and Vincent Akimoto. “It is more likely than not that GMH patients were even more significantly sickened by the probable toxic mold contamination in the hospital.”
“We opened an investigation into the dangerous conditions to patients at GMHA, being alleged by private Doctors,” Douglas Moylan, the attorney general, said. “On the radio I posited that if the governor and legislature do not make the hospital safe for patients, and if our investigation proves true that it is unsafe, then we would seek to have a federal receivership imposed among other possible options.”
The GMA letter also informs Mr. Moylan of GMH’s current lack of medication and test kits for heart attack patients, conditions that place expectant mothers and their newborn babies at risk, and what the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) terms “an incestuous culture of immediate jeopardy at GMH.”
“Immediate Jeopardy is a federally defined situation determined by … CMS in which a hospital’s noncompliance with one or more safety requirements has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment or death to a patient,” Ms. Sullivan wrote on behalf of the doctors. “When CMS documents immediate jeopardy to patient health or safety, the noncompliant hospital has 23 calendar days to rectify the safety violations.”
Adelup responded to the doctors’ letter to the attorney general by pegging problems on the Eddie Calvo administration, stating the problems that continue in the Lou Leon Guerrero administration will not change so long as people cannot afford to pay for their hospital bills, and accusing the doctors of misogyny.
The governor’s office also assures the community the hospital is a safe place, with its news release stating:
“GMH provides safe, competent care, and we remain certified by the federal government via the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The fact that CMS maintains our certification means that we meet the federally required standard.”
The doctors, however, pronounce in their letter that the administration is not being honest about the situation at GMH:
“The most immediate jeopardy perpetrated by GMH is their lack of urgency in informing the Guam community about the true limitations now imposed by GMH’s worsening ability to reliably obtain necessary medicines and supplies. GMH’s lack of transparency or sense of urgency has likely resulted in unsuspecting patients admitting themselves to GMH for hospital care not knowing that there are probably better supplied facilities at the two other hospitals on Guam.
“Among its many sins, GMH’s greatest omission is the lack of acceptance of responsibility to tell the community what it cannot do safely on any given day of the week.
“GMH has reneged on a multitude of secret medical malpractice lawsuit settlements by not implementing promised safety measures. Thusly, further clinical misadventures have injured and maimed a growing number of innocent women and children who trusted GMH with their lives.
“While the Leon Guerrero administration has pushed the narrative that problems at the island’s public hospital stem from a lack of funding, CMS survey reports show that GMH violations deal largely with a horribly maintained facility; a lack of proper safety procedures for patient care; and the lack of a system of medical staff accountability.”
The doctors, in ending their letter, said that if local efforts fail to fix GMH soon, the attorney general should assist in placing the hospital under federal receivership.
“One approach would be to request for a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of the Interior, as well as the Congressional oversight committees,” Mr. Moylan said when asked how his office might go about requesting such a receivership. “This issue is too important to leave to local politicians if in fact a danger exists in an inadequate health facility for the growing population.”
He said these are serious allegations the doctors are making, so his office is investigating “with due haste.”
The video below is an excerpt from a legislative health oversight hearing on January 16, 2024. The excerpt depicts an exchange between hospital administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas and Chris Barnett, a senator. The conversation was about a “draft” mold report the hospital has refused to disclose to the public, and Mr. Barnett’s contention that GMH is withholding the report in order to avoid accountability.