Am. Samoa Hospital CEO: Dialysis Will Continue At LBJ

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Patients reassured after temporary closure due to supplies recall

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, June 9, 2015) – LBJ Hospital CEO, Taufete’e John Faumuina assures that dialysis patients have nothing to worry about as the hospital is bringing in the "liquid bicarbonate concentrate" via air freight through Fax Cargo and that treatment for dialysis resumed last Friday evening.

Last week the dialysis clinic closed for two days after the "liquid bicarbonate concentrate" was recalled by the manufacturer Frensius Medical Care Rental Therapies Group. Dialysis Head Nurse, Olita Tafiti explained that the recalled product — NaturaLyte Liquid Bicarbonate Concentrate — is used in the treatment of acute and chronic renal failure during hemodialysis.

According to Taufete’e, 128 cases arrived via the Pacific Air Cargo flight (last Friday afternoon) and the Hawaiian Air flight Friday night.

Nurses at the dialysis unit told Samoa News that supplies from Friday would only last up until Tuesday, however Taufete’e dismisses the concern, noting that it will last up until Wednesday, June 10.

He told Samoa News that 36 cases were scheduled to arrive on Monday afternoon with an additional 186 cases arriving Monday night on the HAL flight. After those two deliveries, 222 cases will be on hand and that would last up until June 13. Taufete’e further told Samoa News that Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has requested assistance from Congresswoman Aumua Amata for transport for the remaining 1,350 cases. The LBJ CEO said that amount would take them up to July 6, after which their regular shipment of bicarbonate will arrive via container.

"At present, the dialysis operation is back to normal. With respect to disposal of the unused bottles that were recalled and the empty bottles included in the recall order, the manufacturer and supplier authorized LBJ to use our normal disposal procedures, handled by our Safety Officer according to EPA standards."

Samoa News asked if the hospital is paying for the freight or if the company that recalled their product is paying it. According to the CEO, the hospital will settle the freight costs by air with the supplier at a later time, however for now the hospital has to absorb these costs to avoid delay of shipments. "Of course, we will ask for reimbursement as the problem originates from them, not us."

Samoa News understands the hospital had to pay $10,000 in freight to get one of the shipments sent on Friday, released. It is unknown if the other also had to be paid up front.

Samoa News asked if the hospital had in place a back up plan for situations such as these to avoid the temporary closing of the dialysis unit, and Taufete’e stated that using airfreight is their plan B for emergency cases such as these.

"That is our back-up plan, using air freight, which is very costly. Our normal plan is using ocean freight and our next shipment is due July 6. Ocean or surface shipment is less expensive versus air freight."

Samoa News was told by LBJ that no dialysis patients were seen at the hospital ER during the two day closure of the dialysis unit, however Samoa News spoke to two such patients, who were at the ER due to problems from non dialysis treatment.

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