VIDEO: Dr. Bieling Says “Cash for Pain-Relief” Allegation Gives Pause; But Focus Should Be on Pain Relief for Patients

466

Guam – The Chair of GMH’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Friedrich Bieling has issued a statement today [Wednesday] calling for “the truth to come out” about the allegation that a GMH anesthesiologist demanded a cash payment of $600 dollars before he would perform a pain relief procedure at the hospital.

 

In his public statement, Dr. Bieling writes that the allegation  “needs to give us serious pause” and “Let witnesses identify themselves and testify and let the truth come out.”

However, Dr. Bieling emphasises that the focus should be on “the lack of  epidural anesthesia and analgisia.”

He declares: “It is out duty to provide an environment where a patient with her family can go through the process of labor and delivery with dignity, free of fear, and free of pain she feels she cannot bear, irrespective of race, national origin, creed, or ability to pay.  Our focus is the patient.”

And he concludes that “The time has come where we at GMH need a full time obstetrical anesthesia service that includes availability of epidural anesthesia 24/7.”

READ Dr. Bieling’s statement in FULL below:

Dr. Lizama, Honorable Senator Rodriguez, all people of good will to come together:

As chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Guam Memorial Hospital, I can no longer remain silent.  The recent incident in L&D where a patient requested an epidural for pain relief and, I understand, ended up with an intrathecal, but reportedly only after the husband was waiving bundles of cash in his hands, needs to give all of us serious pause.  I understand the administration is investigating, and rightfully so.  Let’s put aside hearsay.  Let witnesses identify themselves and testify and let the truth come out.

However, it is important to remember that the issue is lack of epidural anesthesia and analgesia.  In the meantime, we need to focus on what our job and mission is.  Our focus and mission is to provide care to our patients.  Let the process work, and let us not lose sight of the patient in all of this, especially our mothers in pain.

It is out duty to provide an environment where a patient with her family can go through the process of labor and delivery with dignity, free of fear, and free of pain she feels she cannot bear, irrespective of race, national origin, creed, or ability to pay.  Our focus is the patient.  A woman in labor requests pain relief.  A husband, desperate to help his wife sees no alternative but to take matters into his own hands.  In hospitals all across America that do as may deliveries as we do, having epidural anesthesia available on request is the standard of care.

Again, our mission is to serve the patient in need.  Let’s focus on the patient and get to the root cause here,  A patient is in pain.  She is fearful of the pain, she is fearful she will lose her dignity and control.  She is told the epidural anesthetic she requests is not available to her.  It leaves her with a feeling of helplessness and fear.  Under duress, she turns to her husband.  Her husband holds her hand and tries to comfort her.  In his attempts to get her the pain relief she deserves, he becomes frustrated and feels helpless.  He may start to think what he can do “outside the box”.  Can we blame him?  Stress and frustration moves up the chain.  The obstetrician feels frustrated and helpless.  He or she may start to think of ways outside the box. Can we blame him? After all, his concern is to help the patient.

After allegations have been settled, let’s get to the root cause: the patient feeling helpless in her pain.  Let this incident be the sentinel case to move forward for the common good.  The time has come where we at GMH need a full time obstetrical anesthesia service that includes availability of epidural anesthesia 24/7.  Let us put blame and differences aside.  Let us find a way for the medical doctors and the administration to come together to do what is doable and what is the right thing to do.  And let us not forget our dedicated and hard working nurses who have a big role to play to make it happen.

The time has come where we at GMH need to realize that anesthesia service that includes epidural anesthesia 24-7 is a must and is the right thing to do for our mothers in pain.

Respectfully,
Friedrich C. Bieling, MD, FACOG
Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Guam Memorial Hospital.