Senator continues call for more oversight of physicians
Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono this week shared with senators the case of a child who was rushed to Hawai’i last month due to the wrong medication being administered by a physician at LBJ Medical Center.
Soliai says this problem — of physicians allegedly giving wrong medication to patients — continues to occur at the hospital while the doctors involved are still working in the territory without any action being taken by the hospital or the American Samoa Health Regulatory Board, which license physicians and other medical professionals to work in the territory.
The first time Soliai raised concerns about this issue was during the early February confirmation hearing for Health director Motusa Tuileama To’atolu Nua.
Soliai called for the Regulatory Board to suspend or revoke the license of any physician who is responsible for a malpractice lawsuit against the American Samoa Government, saying that more oversight is needed by the board to monitor those who are issued a license to practice medicine in the territory.
He reiterated the same call during a Samoa News interview saying that he is aware of a new malpractice lawsuit yet to be filed against the government resulting from a physician’s alleged wrongful action at the hospital.
During the Senate session on Monday, Soliai said there is currently a child at a hospital in Hawai’i who was rushed from the territory last month allegedly because the wrong medication was administered by an LBJ physician.
(Because Soliai didn’t publicly provide the name of the physician or the child, Samoa News is unable to verify with the hospital the senator’s allegations. Samoa News should point out that due to federal confidentiality law, the hospital cannot release any information about a patient without consent of the patient, or the guardian of a patient.)
Soliai told senators that this is not the first time this has happened to hospital patients, and despite this problem, he has not seen any action taken against the physicians who caused the problem, or worse, caused death.
The Ituau senator said he sees these same physicians still working at the hospital, adding that the physicians involved in these serious problems should have their license to practice here revoked or their employment terminated.
He recalled for senators a similar incident of the wrong medication being administered to a child from his family and the child died, resulting in his family member filing a lawsuit against the government. He said the court has since ordered the government to pay money to the child’s family in the malpractice suit.
He went on to allege that others have died at the hospital due to the wrong medication being used by physicians, and something must be done with these physicians.
Soliai then requested a hearing in the Senate which should included witnesses from LBJ and the Department of Health, including the Health Regulatory Board.
Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli said a board of directors governs and oversees the hospital and therefore it's the LBJ board who have the responsibility when it comes to physicians working at LBJ.
Sen. Mauga T. Asuega, chairman of the Senate Hospital and Health Committee, has scheduled for Friday morning a hearing, and witnesses have been called from the hospital. Also called is the DOH director, who is also the chairman of the Health Regulatory Board.
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