Victims of sexual abuse and medical malpractice allegedly at the hands of doctors slammed the board that licensed them.
De-Anna Taijeron, Danielle Baza, and David Lubofsky testified in a legislative oversight hearing Wednesday night against the Guam Board of Medical Examiners. The three, who each filed complaints about doctors on Guam in three separate cases, raised issues of the competence, character, professionalism, and propriety of the board members, who allowed the doctors to practice on Guam.
Speaker Therese Terlaje, who chairs the legislative health committee, called the hearing in response to mounting community concerns the GBME had been licensing doctors with shady criminal and malpractice histories in other jurisdictions.
The hearing started off heated, when Ms. Terlaje pressed board chairman Dr. Nathaniel Berg for straightforward answers to her questions. The speaker, noting she provided Dr. Berg her questions days in advance, became impatient by Berg’s seeming deflections from questions. The questions ranged from records of and process and reasons for disciplinary action to the delay in investigations and the continuous licensure of doctors with shady histories of practice.
Mr. Lubofsky, who filed complaints against two doctors involving the death of his son in their care, slammed Dr. Berg and the board for everything from their appearance of conflicts of interest to its complicity in knowingly licensing doctors of ill repute.
Board members with admitted conflicts vote to relicense Akoma
Board vice chairman Phil Flores lamented the GBME has received a bad rap due to what he called misleading media reports. Ms. Terlaje, referring to the media coverage of allegations of sex crimes made against Dr. Ugochukwu Akoma, asked Mr. Flores whether any board members disclosed a conflict of interest when GBME received the first complaint against Akoma.
“There were conflicts, yes, some conflicted out,” Mr. Flores replied.
Noting Dr. Akoma’s conditional license expired December 31, 2021, and that GBME renewed that license, Ms. Terlaje then asked whether any board members recused themselves from voting on the renewal of Akoma’s license.
“To my knowledge, none,” Mr. Flores replied.
Mr. Flores was the lone member of the board present via Zoom and answering questions following the testimony of the three victims. Dr. Berg left the hearing while Lubofsky was testifying. The only other board member who attended the hearing, Dr. Annette David, left the hearing only 30 minutes into it.
The board’s four other members – Dr. Scott Shay, Dr. Luis Cruz, Dr. Annie Bordallo, and Dr. Arania Adolphson – did not attend the hearing. Drs. Bordallo and Adolphson both have been mourning recent deaths in their families.