DOC Director: Number of inmates infected with Hepatitis C is significantly less than reported

Department of Corrections (PNC file photo)

Guam – Its not an epidemic, the number of inmates afflicted with Hepatitis C is “significantly less” according to DOC Acting Director Samantha Brennan than what DOC former Medical Director Doctor Larry Lizama previously reported.

But DOC did not indicate what “significantly less” means, as the number of infected inmates and detainees were not disclosed.

In a release Brennan stated that the department worked with Lizama over the week coming to this conclusion, so PNC reached out to the doctor to gain a clearer picture of the situation which was kept under wraps and he is standing by his number that he saw 100 Hepatitis C patients incarcerated at DOC.

“I don’t know what they did whether they broke them down into inmates and detainees I don’t you know again my numbers reflect the actual list of patients I treated I don’t divide them as inmates or detainees,” stated Lizama.

Doctor Lizama stressed that the numbers he provided to the Governor was from his time under former DOC Director Tony Lamorena and he has not been made privy to any changes since leaving his full time appointment at DOC.

Meanwhile in a release Brennan shared, “We are aware of the various treatment options and the corresponding costs. Through our partnership with the Guam Memorial Hospital, we are working to address any quality of care and funding issues. Further stating that DOC is committed to assuring that every individual confined at DOC receives appropriate and adequate healthcare.”

As you may recall Governor Lou Leon Guerrero also emphasized the importance of treating inmates infected with the deadly liver disease to ensure that the infection does not spill out into the community.

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Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.