Guam Memorial Hospital too full, Chuuk Chata'an victims to be sent to Hawai'i

Report
from East-West Center
Published on 19 Jul 2002
From Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai'i

By Steven Limtiaco

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (July 19, 2002 - Pacific Daily News) - Guam Memorial Hospital has no empty beds, so six people seriously injured during landslides in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, will be sent to Hawai'i instead.

Hospital medical director Dr. Davina Lujan said she received a call yesterday morning from a Federal Emergency Management Agency doctor, asking if the patients could be brought from Chuuk to Guam Monday.

Lujan said the hospital has no room for them, but might have beds available by next weekend. She said the decision was made to send the patients instead to The Queen's Medical Center in Hawai'i.

Lujan said because the hospital is full, new patients would be placed in the emergency room until an empty bed became available.

Carlotta Leon Guerrero, co-executive director of the Guam-based Ayuda Foundation, said four other people in critical condition were flown from Chuuk to the U.S. Army hospital in Hawai'i for treatment.

The foundation has been coordinating relief efforts to Chuuk, including the services of doctors and nurses and delivery of supplies.

Rain from then-Tropical Storm Chata'an struck Chuuk State July 2, triggering more than 30 major landslides throughout the state's islands in Chuuk Lagoon. The landslides killed 47 people and injured dozens of others.

As many as 1,300 people have been displaced, and many staple crops were destroyed, aggravating a pre-existing food shortage.

U.S. Army doctors from Hawai'i and doctors from Korea are in Chuuk now, Leon Guerrero said.

"FEMA relief officials asked us to help them get two (Guam) nurses that could go Saturday for advanced wound care," she said.

Leon Guerrero said the nurses are expected to stay in Chuuk for at least a week.

She said FEMA officials also have offered to help the Ayuda Foundation fly doctors and supplies from Guam to Chuuk.

Leon Guerrero said that service is important because there are a limited number of flights to and from Chuuk, and some Guam doctors are unable to be away from Guam for more than a few days.

Radio contact was made with the outer islands of Chuuk, and Leon Guerrero said they reported no storm-related injuries. But outer islanders said they are short of food and potable water and are suffering from diarrhea, flu, skin diseases, pneumonia, tuberculosis, cuts and other ailments.

Leon Guerrero said they are asking for painkillers and antibiotics, which could be provided by a medical association in Taiwan.