When we discuss the lack of medical negligence accountability by Guam doctors due to the Mandatory Malpractice Arbitration Act, let’s be clear: a lack of accountability negatively impacts care. Physicians think that they can do or say what they want. This results in medical apathy by some doctors. I am not saying that all Guam doctors fall into this category, as Guam has great doctors, but it’s perceived as part of the overall Guam medical culture. I have experienced it firsthand. Even though Bill 112-36 to change the malpractice law is about the private sector, the issues impact medical care at Guam Memorial Hospital as well where doctors also do not have accountability.
Apathy is the product of a lack of accountability, just like with our kids. If they are not held accountable for their actions, they will repeat them and not worry about consequences.
The following are just a few of the comments made online by Guam medical health consumers who seek change or repeal of the Malpractice Arbitration Act and protection.
• Miro: 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. Now I have my gallbladder and appendix removed. Boy it was a mess and I couldn’t do anything but forget it.
• Quin: The reason why that bill was implemented is for their own medical agenda, and think of it. Why did the government of Guam agreed to pass that law? It’s all so clear on their intention. It’s all about $$$ the forced arbitration that is the system they built just so they can protect their own interest of making money!!! Disgusting!
• Josie F: Health care workers need to be held accountable for any wrongdoings and that is the rightful thing to do. Otherwise, workers will continue to malpractice and innocent lives are at stake and people will continue to get hurt.
• Gloria: We need to protect patients like my niece.
• Pej: I’m signing this because We all need to take a stand against those doctors who are abusing the system for their gain. Doctors are for-profit, just like any other business, and they should not be treated differently for their negligence and mistakes. They should be held accountable, like the rest of us equally. They accept money in exchange for diagnosing or treating any illness we may have, therefore when we pay for and rely on their diagnosis and treatment and they should be held responsible for any misconduct, misdiagnosis and wrong treatment.
• Julian: I don’t believe this is right for arbitration to take place! For a citizen who is wronged, a proper place is a court of law.
• Nicho: I am a victim of this medical malpractice. And I want justice.
• Abb: For ZECH! RIP my angel! An innocent victim at the negligence hands of a doctor protected by my government.
• Gary: This law is ridiculously useless to the people! Any law that places the burden on the innocent is hogwash and should be abolished. I fully support removing this law and replacing it with something that fully supports the consumers.
• George: This is not only wrong but sick and all you crap doctors need to be held responsible.
• Emilia: I am signing this petition because I do believe that why should we fork out thousands of dollars for arbitration when we already suffering due to a loss! It doesn’t make sense.
• Francis: My mom was a victim of malpractice and we’re trying to get justice as well, but it’s costing an arm and a few legs just to get the justice she deserves.
• Rita: I’m signing this petition because I am a victim of medical malpractice also!! Someone has to do something about it!!
There are many more comments. People want the law changed. They want to be protected. They want doctors who are repeat malpractice performers to be identified. They want to change the Guam doctor mindset, whether outside of GMH or inside the hospital, that they must put patients first and be held accountable for it.
David Lubofsky is the voice of his son the late Asher Dean Lubofsky. David Lubofsky is a resident of Tamuning. Some of the comments he shared were edited for space, clarity, and Post standards.