By Kandit News Group
(Tumon, Guam) On January 23, 2016, Monica DeVera rushed her son, Charles Vincent Blas, to the Guam Regional Medical City, after finding him at home with seizures his mother believed were caused by a prescription he had just taken.
While in GRMC's care, Mr. Blas was given a lethal dose of medication and died right in front of his mother, she said.
In the seconds before his death, he shouted at her, "Mom, please don't let me die! Mom!"
She replied, "I won't let you die, son."
Ms. DeVera sought the help of an attorney to bring justice to her son's death. The attorney informed her of Guam's Medical Malpractice Mandatory Arbitration Act and told her that because of the law, she would need to fork out $60,000 to start the arbitration against the doctors she alleges caused the malpractice and her son's death.
Ms. DeVera didn't have $60,000. The vast majority of Guam's residents do not have this kind of money.
Two other families, who have fallen victim to medical malpractice, the Lubofskys and the Taitagues, filed suit against parties to malpractice claims and have simultaneously requested a permanent injunction against the government of Guam to declare the MMMA unconstitutional. A Saipan family last week filed a similar suit for malpractice that allegedly occurred at GRMC.
Throughout last year, David Lubofsky, whose son Asher Dean died on October 31, 2018 due to malpractice, led a campaign for senators to change the law. Sen. Therese Terlaje held a series of informational hearings to take testimony on any proposed changes or reforms.
On October 3, 2019, Ms. DeVera went before the Legislature in one of those hearings and pleaded with senators to repeal the MMMA.
On November 18, 2019, Speaker Tina Muna Barnes introduced Bill No. 248, which would keep the mandatory arbitration clauses of the current law, but set aside $100,000 a year to help indigent victims to make claims.
If this bill were to become law, it would not help Ms. DeVera and thousands of others like her, who would be disqualified from tapping into that pool of money (which is not even enough to help two victims a year), based on the qualifying factors in Ms. Muna Barnes's bill.
In statements to the media, Ms. Muna Barnes admitted that the legislation was drafted by doctors who are part of and leaders in the powerful medical lobby group, Guam Medical Association.
Please watch the video we prepared to see Ms. DeVera's heartbreaking plea to senators that fell on deaf ears.