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Dueling petitions: 400 health providers vs. 4,000 patients

By Jacob Nakamura

Senators have received two rival petitions regarding Speaker Therese Terlaje's Bill No. 112-36, which will give poor and middle class Guamanians access to the court system, when a preponderance of evidence shows a victim was maimed or killed from medical malpractice.

Around 400 doctors, physician assistants, dentists, nurses, and insurance providers co-signed a petition by Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes in opposition to the bill.

Nearly 4,000 have thus far signed a petition in support of Ms. Terlaje's legislation. That is 16 times the number of signatures needed to qualify a candidate for the Guam Legislature, and well more than the number of voters needed to unseat an incumbent in an election.

From the comments left on the petition on, from a federal judge, and from comments Kandit has received:

"Those doctors trying to blackmail and scare the public is sickening." - identity protected

"On behalf of my brother who was misdiagnosed and given medication that caused other life threatening issues that he is still suffering today. BETTER HEALTHCARE REFORM NOW. GUAM DESPERATELY NEEDS BETTER AND SAFER HEALTHCARE. Dangkalu na si Yu'us maase." - Michele Cruz

"It would be manifestly unfair to enforce the statutory requirement against a person financially incapable of arbitrating. Doing so would have the absurd result of prohibiting the poor from recovering on a claim they might be otherwise entitled to. It would likewise shield the health care industry from ever owing liability to the underprivileged.” U.S. District Court Judge Ramona V. Manglona describing Guam’s mandatory arbitration law.

"They need to be held accountable." - Teresa Josefina Cruz

"This should get them to listen." - Ricksan Atin

"I believe all should be able to seek justice fairly." - Gina Call

"Let's hold these Doctors and Health Care providers accountable for THEIR negligence. What they do isn't right at all. You want to know something? Something that just doesn't sit right with me. In the aftermath of their incompetence we're left in grief and anger and we therefore can't pursue to hold them for their wrongs because they are protected by this law. You know I sit here and wonder if these health care providers even have a conscience. Do they even feel. Do they reflect. Do they understand that they took a life and crumbled it as if it were just a piece of paper and tossed it in the trash, as if the life they negligently handled, were nothing but a piece of trash. For the sake of the countless lives taken from medical malpractice, for the families of these loved ones who became victims of medical malpractice. For the surviors who fell victim and are still triggered by this incompetence, who still hold anger.And For the future. Let's end this and make these Doctors and the likes know that we're not okay with them taking from us. We're not okay with them getting off scot free and making a living off of this. We won't have it anymore." - Nisa Charfauros

"Accountability. The people of Guam deserve better healthcare." - Marilyn Schofield

"The laws should apply as they do in the states period, there's not negotiations about this." - Francisco Sepulvida

"Vera Dela Cruz." - Vera Dela Cruz

"Doctors should be accountable on Guam." - Ernest Ochoco

"It's the right thing to do. I had two surgeries. First one was their mistake and completely didn't fix the issue. Second surgery was to actually fix my issue. They had misdiagnosed me and I went into emergency surgery not know exactly what the hell was the problem. I got myself a second opinion where the second doctor pin pointed the problem and fixed it, that's my second surgery. It's mind blowing. Now I have my gallbladder and appendix removed. Two separate surgeries at different times. Boy it was a mess and I couldn't do anything but forget it." - Miro Inta

There are thousands more comments from residents on the petition and in social media and news posts in support of Terlaje's legislation.

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