There’s still 84 newborns in need of TB screening

The old and dilapidated Guam Memorial Hospital will be replaced by a new hospital. (PNC file photo)

Only 227 of the 311 babies accidentally exposed to latent TB were screened by the hospital.

Guam – The Guam Memorial Hospital is touting success in screening 227 of the 311 newborns exposed to latent tuberculosis.

It’s been a few weeks since GMH first announced the terrifying news that over 300 babies were at risk of TB due to exposure from a hospital employee.

GMH Assistant Associate Hospital Administrator Dr. Kozue Shimabukuro says a majority of the newborns were contacted by the hospital.

“As of yesterday, 227 patients [were screened] and that’s about 72% of all the patients exposed. So, we captured a majority of it. The remainder including the parents is about 117 parents or so. A lot of the masses we dealt with it in two and a half weeks,” she said.

Since then, volunteer physicians, specialists, and nurses worked round the clock to reach as many families as possible with the care they deserved.

“The community got together and then we pulled together to see it through. Pediatricians didn’t get paid to do this, infectious disease people didn’t get paid to do this, neither the nurses, neither myself. We got together and said, ‘this is our baby, we’re going to take care of it!’ So, this was pretty impressive to me, coming from outside, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Shimabukuro added.

Although GMH screened a majority of the families contacted, Dr. Shimabukuro tells PNC there’s still around 90 individuals that have yet to visit the hospital.

“We’ve tried every single day reaching these people multiple times, but we weren’t able to. And Public Health collaborated with us and we sent physical mail to reach the parents, but we haven’t heard back from them,” she explained.

The doctor warned that the families who have visited GMH for maternity care between the months of April and July and have not yet received a screening must contact Public Health as soon as possible.

GMH encourages those individuals to call DPHSS at 735-7154 or 735-7131.