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Brother helping brother: LBJ engineer repairs Samoa’s C.T. machine

Samoa Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital
Source: Samoa Observer

Apia, SAMOA — An engineer from LBJ hospital traveled to Samoa this past Friday to repair Samoa’s only C.T. machine.  The Samoa Observer reports that the C.T. has been out of order since at least October.

(C. T. or computed tomography is a type of imaging used in hospitals. It uses special x-ray equipment to make cross-sectional pictures of the body for diagnostic purposes.)

Ernesto Dayang from MedPharm traveled on the Samoa Airways Twin Otter, which has been based in American Samoa since April to service the inter-island routes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Coronavirus Task Force Chairman Iulogologo Joseph Pereira, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi asked his American Samoan counterpart for help with the C.T. machine.

He wrote to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who consulted with the hospital chief executive, before approving the request for Dayang to go to Samoa.

L.B.J. C.E.O. Faumuina John Faumuina confirmed that the arrangement was for the engineer to make the repairs and return right away.

Last November, the Samoa Observer confirmed the country’s only C.T. machine based at Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital had been broken for nearly a month, and patients' health may have been compromised as a result.

Four staff at the national hospital, who declined to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media, told the Observer at the time that the machine had been broken for at least three weeks.

A family member of a patient who had been admitted with a stroke, who did not wish to be named, confirmed they were rushed to the hospital due to a stroke in early November but doctors said the C.T. scan has been down two weeks.

On the night the patient was admitted, the medical officers could not determine whether the patient had a clot or bleeding in her brain and without the C.T. scan, they were unable to fully diagnose her condition that night. The patient was discharged a week later, according to the Observer report.