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OPINION: Medical negligence must factor into COVID-19 deaths

By David Lubofsky

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero vetoed Bill 215-35 that sought to increase the limits on claims against the government of Guam and Guam Memorial Hospital for wrongful death and other actions. It sought to increase the limits on claims from $100,000 to $200,000 for wrongful death, and from $300,000 to $500,000 for any other tort action. These limits were set nearly 40 years ago, and the bill sought to make these limits coincide with todays economy and spending power. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Telo Taitague with many co-sponsors, had strong community support with feedback and support for it sent to Sen. Taitague. It was also passed unanimously by the Guam Legislature.  

The governor thinks reasonable limits of liability for negligent death or disability should be $100,000, as she stated in her letter dated October 30, 2020, sent to the speaker. She is really out of touch of what the average person spends when they are hurt or killed, not to mention the pain and grieving. These limits are the lowest in the country in one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The governor also said we need to keep these limits on liability (as noted, are near 40 years old), particularly with regard to health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Are Coronavirus patients dying from medical negligence?

While approaching a hundred on Guam dying from Coronavirus, is [the governor] worried that some may have died from medical negligence, which I personally strongly claim as true. It seems that must be a concern of the governor. How else can she justify taking economical limits from 40 years ago and applying them today? Does she have any idea how expensive it is to bury a loved one or to get long term medical care for someone who is permanently disabled at GMH due to medical negligence? Any liability payout almost always includes legal fees deducted of about one third. 

So, how many Coronavirus deaths are due to medical negligence if that is seemingly a motivating factor to veto this Bill? Its Guam’s secret serious disease, that we only know about deaths and infected people, but not what goes on behind the scenes. My son passed away from an unknown virus at GMH as doctors never came into his room while his life was slipping away all night and nurses refused to get him into ICU or call the doctors again or even the ER. He was not by any means a one-time tragedy. It has happened before my son Asher and after that with coverups noted by available reports.  

What is the governor and her medical board hiding?

With GMH’s history, medical negligence must be factored in some of the COVID-19 deaths. The medical advisory board and the governor must know things that we do not know leading to her fear of liability claims against the government related to COVID-19. The way things are now, a quick swab gets rid of any medical negligence claim so doctors do not have to show up at night to see the dying patients and the governor can keep liability limits set at 40 years ago keeping her medical fiefdom intact.

David Lubofsky is a Tamuning resident.


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