Dr. Aurelio Espinola, Guam’s former chief medical examiner who also performed forensics services for the CNMI, has died in the Philippines.
Espinola’s demise was learned after 36th Guam Legislature Speaker Therese Terlaje issued a statement last night expressing great sadness after learning of Espinola’s passing. The cause of his demise and his age were not immediately available as of yesterday.
According to Terlaje’s statement, Espinola began working at the Guam Memorial Hospital in 1993 and retired in 2019. After 25 years of service to the people of Guam, Espinola returned to his home in the Philippines.
It was learned from Terlaje’s statement that Espinola actually delayed his retirement, from the age of 65 to 77 years old, and extended his term as chief medical examiner through January 2019, “recognizing that finding his replacement as medical examiner would challenge the government and out of concern for the public.”
As a symbol of gratitude on behalf of the people of Guam, Espinola was honored via Resolution by the 32nd and 34th Guam legislatures.
Terlaje’s statement adds: “Dr. Espinola, the son of a dressmaker and a soldier, candidly expressed that his inspiration to become a doctor was borne out of poverty. After being refused treatment for his brother at a young age because his family lacked money, he resolved to become a medical professional and remained inspired by his commitment to assist those who could not pay for medical services. He studied obstetrics and gynecology and subsequently became an OB/GYN, then studied anesthesiology and forensic pathology. Understanding the importance of the presentation of good forensic investigations as an aid for justice in court, he also studied at South Texas College of Law.
“Dr. Espinola was also known as an avid boxer, for his sense of humor, and for his love of cooking good food, having studied for two years at the Guam Community College under their culinary program.
“Dr. Espinola dedicated so much of his life in service to the people of Guam. On behalf of the 36th Guam Legislature and the people of Guam I would like to express a sincere Un Dångkulo Na Si Yu’os Ma’åse’ to his family and send our sincerest condolences,” Terlaje’s statement said.
The CNMI, which does not have its own forensic pathologist, regularly employed Espinola’s services when he was still in Guam and he would fly to Saipan to perform autopsies when needed. (Saipan Tribune)