Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Trip To Guam, Day 1

I just returned from a long walk in Guam. I walked up and down the hills but never made a turn. Those of you who know me know that it can be the end of me if I make one turn, I may never find my way back to my hotel! So, I just walk straight thinking about my day, looking at the beautiful view and passing the many stores with familiar names where tourists gather like Gucci, Prada and Rolex.

I am brought half way around the world by a gentleman with the same passion as I have; to give our family, friends and community safe quality healthcare. Peter lost his mother a few years ago. She was treated in the hallway of the emergency room at the only community hospital in Guam. With much less than 200 beds and a small emergency room, this hospital with no room for expansion treats almost all of Guam’s 170,000 residents. Many, who don’t have health insurance come to the emergency room sicker than they need to be were they to get regular medical care. Peter doesn’t blame anyone for his mother’s death as he explains the long delays to her surgery. She would be ready to go in early in the morning but not be seen until 7:00 at night. Peter explained that in Guam, families take care of each other. They live nearby and when someone is sick, the family is there.

Following his mother’s death, Peter turned to his wife and said something has to be done to improve healthcare on the island of Guam. He gathered 22 people together, got the support of the Mayors, and started the plans to build a new hospital. The foundation is raising the money and after 3 years, are about ready to sign with the contractors and the architect. Imagine someone in New York saying “I don’t like the way the hospitals run” or “the hospital is too small so I am going to build a new one.”

The Foundation Peter founded and the Mayors Council have agreed that they want the public to know and understand patient safety so they can be partners in their care. They have invited 300 community members to an all day conference for free to learn about patient safety. Today we did a television show and a press conference. Tomorrow will be a 90 minute radio show and on Saturday, March 6 I will be addressing over 300 people including medical professionals, nursing students and people from Guam about what they need to know to help ensure their safety and the safety of their family in the hospital. Who would have thought that Guam is even more progressive than New York?

1 comment:

leslie Tasca said...

Wow Ilene! Good for you and good for Guam. It sounds like they are starting off on the right foot. When the hospital is complete, maybe Peter and the Mayors Council of Guam would like to make a visit to Albany and advocate for the people of New York. We could use all the help we can get.