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Monday, April 21, 2014

CHC, GMH team up to save man’s life

The recently created working relationship between the Guam Memorial Hospital and Commonwealth Health Center is starting to bear fruit after CHC successfully saved the life of a young adult involved in a recent crash.

Dr. Sherlene Osman, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. director for medical affairs, disclosed that a male patient who was involved in a recent vehicular accident was admitted at CHC a few days ago.

The victim, in his early 20s, suffered from epidural hematoma, a type of a traumatic brain injury where a buildup of blood occurs between the tough outer membrane and the skull.

Despite efforts of CHC’s general surgeon to evacuate the blood that was gathering inside the patient’s brain, the operation was unsuccessful. At about 10am Wednesday, Osman was notified of the patient’s critical condition and she immediately acted to save the patient.

It was learned that an emergency medical evacuation to Guam was initially planned for the patient, in coordination with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. Upon learning, however, that no bed was available at the Guam hospital, Osman directly communicated with GHM director for medical affairs, Dr. Larry Lizama, to seek his help.

At 6pm Wednesday, GMH’s neurosurgeon Dr. Steven Hayashida was sent to operate on the patient at CHC. Yesterday, the then-deteriorating patient was pronounced medically stable.

From arranging for the patient’s emergency medical evacuation, to talking with GMH DMA, to sending the Guam specialist to the CNMI, these all happened in a record amount of time, according to Osman.

Osman, along with CEO Juan N. Babauta and COO Esther Muña, praised yesterday the cooperation of hospital staff and the assistance of the Guam Memorial Hospital and Hayashida who flew to the island despite his hectic schedule in Guam. Also recognized were the efforts of Dr. George Macris, CHC’s consulting internist, in getting the cooperation of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.

“This is just an example of how hospitals should be coordinated,” said Osman.

According to Babauta, had Osman not acted quickly as she did, they may be telling a different story about the patient yesterday.

It was in October this year when Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo, along with the GMH director for medical affairs, Dr. Larry Lizama, met corporation officials and discussed setting up a new relationship between two facilities. Sharing of resources and expertise were discussed so they could help each other’s needs.

Babauta revealed that as a result of this discussion, CHC was recently able to share its ultrasound technician with GMH. He explained that by sharing resources and expertise, each hospital agreed to shoulder the airfare and salary of specialists such as Hayashida.

CHC has no neurosurgeon but employs a full-time general surgeon for the hospital.

Osman admitted that hiring a neurosurgeon is not a priority for CHC at this time because the CNMI does not have a need for a resident neurosurgeon and can share this expertise with Guam.

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