Guam -Dr. Sam Friedman, the Governors controversial nominee to the Guam Board of Medical Examiners issued the following statement following Governor Calvo’s re-affirmation of support for his nomination to the GBME. Dr. Friedman’s Statement:
I’m writing this open letter to the people of Guam, the Governor and the Legislature for two reasons. First, I want to stand by my assertions that there is a lack of focus on patient care on the Guam Board of Medical Examiners and Guam Memorial Hospital. Second, if my choice of words offended anyone, I wish to apologize. I was trying to get my point across in an unambiguous manner.
Guam is a beautiful place to live. The people are the kindest, most hospitable and endearing people on earth. I am so humbled to call myself a Guamanian. Although I am international in my outlook, Guam is my home, and I’m so thankful to the Chamorro people for the support you’ve given me in my oncology practice.
It pains me so much that some have taken the kindness and generosity of the people for granted. I’ve seen so many events occur in the medical community that clearly violates the people’s trust. This is why I’ve been so passionate. I’ve felt the need and the duty to speak out and stand up for patients.
I was truly surprised when the Governor asked me to serve on the Guam Board of Medical Examiners. I was not looking for such a position and honestly didn’t think an elected leader would tap me for public service. In my experience of government and politics, the politicians don’t like to include people who freely express their concerns and opinions. We’re called ‘loose canons,’ and we are too much of a political liability. But, the Governor said he wasn’t elected to make political decisions. He was elected to make the right decisions. I thank him for restoring my trust and confidence in government. I never tried to apply to the diplomatic corps!
I perhaps went too far, is statements that should have been more tempered; and probably got the point across by saying patients are ‘dying needlessly’ instead of ‘being killed’. The latter implies some voluntary motive, which is certainly not the case nor was that meant in any degree. But, what is important is that there needs to be sweeping changes in the standards to which we, as medical professionals, hold ourselves. There needs to be a paradigm shift in how we see ourselves in this profession. We are not here to build kingdoms and pockets of power at Guam Memorial Hospital. We are doctors because we are committed to excellence in patient care and helping people. If not, we should have chosen another profession! This is obvious, but appears to have taken a back seat to medical politics both at GBME and GMH!
I stand by my assertions that many people have suffered and many lives have been lost because some doctors and other health care personnel lost sight of this commitment to excellence. I will not apologize for speaking the truth and exposing the corruption. But, I do apologize if the candor of my statements, offended some of my colleagues who honestly try their best to make a difference.
I am far from perfect, but I do try my very best, and I know the difference between right and wrong. If I fight sometimes a little too aggressively, for what is right, my sole focus as a member of the Guam Board of Medical Examiners would be to protect patients and to promote their best interests. We have a long road to go to that end on Guam, but there is no reason why this cannot be achieved.