Guam Doctors Lobby For New Life Saving Equipment

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Senator calls for strategic business plan for hospital

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 4, 2015) – Local doctors are lobbying the island’s public hospital and local senators to support new equipment that could help save lives on island.

Dr. Nathenial Berg and Dr. Jeff Shay spoke to the Guam Memorial Hospital board of trustees at a meeting on Sept. 24 about imaging equipment that would help provide better care to residents.

The equipment could help stroke patients, patients with aneurysms and other diseases.

Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, Jr., D-Dededo, chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Health, which oversees the hospital, sent a letter to the board stating his interest in the new equipment.

Rodriguez recommends that the hospital work with Berg on a business plan that would project the number of patients the procedure would serve, the potential return of investment and other factors to see if it’s viable for the hospital.

"This business plan will also be used in my efforts to source the funds needed to carry out this project," Rodriguez wrote.

He also recommended the board look into the treatment of stroke patients as a strategic specialty position it sees in the future of GMH.

He wrote that the new private hospital is specializing in heart care and GMH specializing in stroke treatment could be a very viable plan.

"There’s not doubt that we need this," Rodriguez said.

He said a business plan would help him in his efforts to find the resources to make the plan a reality.

Berg said the hospital has needed to change its imaging equipment, and upgrading it to a machine with a bi-plane view would provide a tremendous help. It could help treat patients with strokes, aneurysms and other cases, which require imaging equipment.

Shay said he’s already treated patients with aneurysms with the equipment the hospital has and noted new equipment would help in treating patients.

A recent aneurysm he treated was complex and the current equipment made it more challenging to treat it.

"Without optimal equipment you’re not going to have the same technical success," he said.

Berg explained the difference between the equipment like looking at a dumbbell shape. In the current machine you’re only able to see it from one side and you’ll only get the true shape if you get multiple views. The proposed machine would give you a better and fuller picture at one shot.

"It’s an enormous difference," Berg said.

A new imaging machine with bi-plane technology would make patients have very low complication rates, Shay said. They also would be able to help residents with unruptured aneurysms treat it before it becomes ruptured, he added.

It can also help stroke patients reverse or minimize the effects of the stroke by intervening quickly, he said.

"It would be nice for Guam Memorial Hospital to develop something not available on island," Shay said. The machine can help in other areas as well including stents of arteries, he added.

The equipment is estimated to cost about $1.5 million, Berg said.

"This is an opportunity to take a giant step forward," he said.

The board voted to show their support for the new equipment.

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