January 29, 2018
(Hagatna) – Today, the public hearing room and the lobby of the Guam Congress Building were filled with individuals wearing black ribbon armbands in support of the Governor’s latest attempt to ensure the hospital receives the funding it needs, Bill 230-34 (LS).
“This ribbon is a ribbon of remembrance. It will remind us of the faithfulness, or lack of, our political leaders to our only public hospital and safety net hospital to our people. And so when my family sees this in my home, or when a patient sees this, I will be ready to tell them of our remembrance. I will be ready to tell them of what happened here today, what decision was made today, by our leaders in a time of crisis of our hospital,” Dr. Vincent Duenas, Guam Memorial Hospital’s medical director, said.
For years, the hospital administration has appealed to senators for help. Yet, GMH continues to face a lack of funding, making it hard to retain medical professionals and secure supplies and much-needed equipment.
“We belong to you. And we desperately want to trust you, we want you to help us,” Dr. Duenas said. “Be our refuge, be our strength in this time of crisis in our hospital.”
“At what price tag do you put the health and the lives of our people? What price tag do you put on providing our hospital with the facility, technology, supplies and equipment to save lives and to provide comfort? What price? I don’t have an answer Mr. Speaker, that’s why I’m looking up to you. But this is a shared burden for all of us.”
In a tearful testimony, Dr. Duenas appealed to lawmakers – reminding them of their responsibility to the people of Guam.
“Public health care is a civic and moral responsibility – it is not a political game. We besiege you to demonstrate a moral conviction to give life to our hospital.”