Doctor Shortage Fears In American Samoa

Long-serving pediatrician passed leaving LBJ hospital with one overworked specialist, medical staff claiming LBJ management is downplaying the crisis

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 10, 2017) – Medical sector workers in American Samoa says there is an urgent life and death situation with the hospital relying on a single paediatrician.

 

Two doctors from the Department of Health have been sent to help out at the Pediatric Department of the LBJ Hospital, after the sudden death of long serving paediatrician, Dr Tagilima Iatala, last week.

A replacement is due on island next week.

The chief medical officer at the LBJ, Iotamo Salepaga, said the two public health doctors would mean they could manage until then.

But some medical staff said the situation was more serious than what the LBJ management is making it out to be.

They pointed out that the work load for the remaining pediatrician was too much and had been for a long time.

They said it had taken the hospital more than a year to recruit new pediatricians and one additional doctor was not enough.

They said some inpatients had conditions where the pediatricians had to keep an almost 24-hour watch because of seizures and other complications.

The medical staffers said this was an urgent life-and-death situation and the leaders needed to come and see for themselves and not take the management's word for it.

Radio New Zealand International
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