A plaque made from a tree felled by typhoon

Posted on Jul 08 2019

Commonwealth Health Care Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña, second from left, receives the hand-carved plaque made by former Commonwealth Health Center medical director Dr. Richard Brostrom from Public Health medical director Dr. Phuong Luu. (Contributed Photo)

Former Commonwealth Health Center medical director Dr. Richard Brostrom has given a piece of the hospital back to the hospital to acknowledge its hardworking staff during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yutu in October of last year.

In a lowkey ceremony, Public Health medical director Dr. Phuong Luu presented Commonwealth Health Care Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña with a hand-carved plaque from Brostrom.

The plaque is no ordinary one as the hand-carved memento was made from a piece of monkey pod tree that stood by the hospital entrance until it was felled by the typhoon.

The plaque from Brostrom, who is also a former tuberculosis doctor at CHC and is now with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reads: “Recognizing CHCC staff for their resilience and determination to deliver lifesaving healthcare to the CNMI community in the devastating aftermath of the strongest typhoon ever recorded in the North Pacific.”

While thanking Brostrom for the gift, Muña shared that CHCC’s successes during the typhoon was also due to the support they got from their external partners like the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

“Having Dr. Brostrom, a former resident of the CNMI, and others who understood the demographics and geography of the CNMI, as part of the response team made our operations faster, more effective, and more efficient. This beautiful gift from Dr. Brostrom, carved from a piece of the CHCC, really shows how our partnership has evolved and grown into more of a family. We are grateful to all of the responders who helped us in our time of need, but I do want to single out Dr. Dick Brostrom, Scott Lee, Sean Casey, Mark Young, Thane Hancock, and Brad Austin for their support and commitment to the CNMI and its community. This gift is certainly a representation of how the CHCC and the CNMI continue to be strong and resilient,” she said in a statement to Saipan Tribune.

The hospital CEO also emphasized that CHCC’s mission after a huge storm like Yutu was not only to ensure that the hospital was prepared and available to provide emergency care and treatment to those who need it, but also to ensure that it reaches out to individuals who aren’t able to prioritize their medical needs after something as traumatic as a super typhoon.

“We were able to do this through our outreach clinics in San Antonio and Dandan—some of the worst affected areas of the island—which would not have been possible without the support and manpower provided by our partners. Those first 30 days of our response and recovery maximized care at the front end, which helped reduce the community’s need for care later when medical conditions may have worsened for people unable to avail of hospital services and when we would not have had the extra support provided in the early stages of the response,” she said.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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