GMH explains process as questions arise over hospital’s COVID treatment decisions

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Guam Memorial Hospital administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas has been tapped to chair the Guam Medical and Public Health Services Action Plan Task Force (PNC file photo)

Yesterday, we shared with you concerns raised over the care and treatment provided by the Guam Memorial Hospital to the late Jasmine Salas, Guam’s youngest COVID positive death to date.

Jasmine’s father, Asan-Maina Mayor Frankie Salas, is coping with the loss of his daughter to COVID. He shared that while he and his family are in mourning, he is puzzled by the care his daughter received at the Guam Memorial Hospital just days before her death.

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Jasmine, a diabetic on insulin, was brought to the hospital on Saturday for shortness of breath and was sent home the same day. Salas questioned why they couldn’t just keep his daughter for observation instead of sending her home where she ultimately passed away.

GMH administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas, in response, said that treatment and care are really up to the doctor treating the patient.

“It’s really up to the doctor, the treating doctor, because the doctor is the one that does the physical examination of the individual’s symptoms and condition. If there were some x-rays that were done or some laboratory studies that were done, when the results come back that’s what makes the physician decide whether or not the patient needs to be further hospitalized and continue treatment,” Posadas says.

But Jasmine’s case is not the only COVID positive case in which questions were raised. Earlier this year, we spoke with Charelle Gogue, a COVID positive patient, who went to the hospital twice for shortness of breath. At the time she was seen, she not only found out she was COVID positive but also in the first trimester of pregnancy. Gogue has since recovered from the infection but was sent home both times. But Posadas says that admission is also based on oxygen levels of the COVID patient.

Posadas shared that while there is a standard observation period, this is all dependent on the condition of the patient and what the doctor sees. Diagnostic reports, lab results, and whether the patient continues to manifest symptoms are all taken into consideration, Posadas again stressing that it is up to the doctor.

“The individual results and the vital signs are stable whatever other diagnostic procedures are done for the doctor to make the decision whether or not to admit the patient or to release home,” Posadas says.

It’s known that GMH has a shortage of beds, but according to Posadas, this is not a hindrance.

“The number of beds doesn’t hinder … that’s not a determining factor. It’s the clinical manifestation clinical condition of the individual that the doctor uses to determine hospitalization, not the availability of beds. We have a shortage of beds and we observe … we keep those individuals in the emergency room to observe their condition and how they’re progressing … that’s standard practices,” Posadas says.

But Salas believes if his daughter was admitted, instead of released, she may be alive today.

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Jolene Toves
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.