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Mawar causes medical surge; GMH still experiencing water outage

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

By Pacific Island Times News Staff Typhoon Mawar has added further strain on Guam Memorial Hospital, which struggles to operate amid a staffing shortage and a continuing water outage caused by the storm. “In the aftermath, most residents have not had access to reliable water, power and oxygen, resulting in difficulties with medications and ongoing or chronic medical issues which has caused a dramatic increase in the number of patients coming to Guam Memorial Hospital,” the hospital administration said.

"However, we have no way to confirm if any of the medical conditions we are seeing in patients are related to water consumption," officials said.

The hospital administration said HIPPA privacy policy prohibits the sharing of medical information regarding patient care. GMH confirmed that it continues to experience issues with water. The hospital currently relies on the tankers delivered by Guam Waterworks Authority to refill the hospital’s water reservoir tanks several times a day.

"GMH has issued a water conservation policy within the hospital to ensure water is available for patient care," officials said. The delayed reopening of several local clinics also contributed to the patient surge at the government’s 161-bed hospital.

“As Guam’s only full-service acute care facility, GMH serves all ages and demographics and continues to do so despite being in restoration mode in the wake of Typhoon Mawar,” GMH said.

"Due to the high volume of patients, GMH is experiencing a shortage of available beds. Patient saturation is affecting both hospitals that serve the community," officials said.

"While Guam hospitals occasionally experience elevated patient saturation levels, GMH has worked hard to continue accommodating all patients as all hospitals are experiencing a 'storm spike,'" the hospital added.

GMH has brought in additional temporary medical staff from the National Disaster Medical System, under the HHS, to help alleviate the typhoon-related influx of patients.

GMH currently employs 345 nurses in addition to other medical staff.

"GMH is always in need of talented nurses and other medical staff. Typhoon Mawar has placed additional pressure on our already hard-working staff, many of whom continued working while the storm reached its peak," GMH said.

Sources said the privately owned Guam Medical Regional Hospital is experiencing a patient surge as well. No details were currently available.

Last week, GRMC announced the indefinite suspension of visiting hours while it "has been working diligently to recover from its conditions.."

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