GMH suspends elective surgeries; hospital ICU now at capacity

Guam Memorial Hospital (PNC file photo)

As Guam Memorial Hospital Authority continues to battle the front lines of COVID-19, the hospital’s leadership has made the difficult decision to suspend all elective surgeries. This comes on the heels of the facility’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) reaching absolute capacity at
14 patients.

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During this COVID surge, GMHA said its teams have worked hard to ensure the highest quality care for all patients, despite bed and staffing shortages. Initially in August, the hospital suspended outpatient services to accommodate the influx of patients. While the hope was to continue elective surgeries during this virus wave, unfortunately, the COVID census and demands on the hospital have reached a critical point, GMHA stated. Thus, the decision is to now maintain and staff one operating room (OR) for emergency cases, while redirecting all remaining staff and resources to support the continued influx of COVID patients, particularly those who need ICU and telemetry level of care.

All elective surgeries at GMH will be suspended starting tomorrow, Tuesday, September 21, and until further notice.

GMHA is also working on other ways to expand its bed capacity and staff resources. This includes moving additional stable, non-acute, non-COVID patients to the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), rerouting all administrative nurses to the hospital floors for clinical support, and continuing to work with federal partners to request emergency FEMA clinical staff.

“We will continue to analyze the situation and make decisions as we see fit. This is a constantly fluctuating and changing dynamic; after 1.5 years of this pandemic, we are nothing if not flexible, adaptable, and agile to the needs of our community. I want to thank every single GMHA employee, who continues to show up, work hard and go above and beyond their regularly scheduled hours to support the sickest in our community. You truly are frontline heroes,” said Lillian Perez-Posadas, GMHA CEO.

An ICU overflow called “Care 2” will be mobilized with the shifted staff from the OR and various departments to support additional critical care patients. The Care 2 bed capacity is 4.

This is a developing situation. GMHA will continue to update the public as things change and management appreciates the public’s patience and support during these trying times.