Staunch criticism for Friedman's nomination - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Staunch criticism for Friedman's nomination

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Lawmakers today began their legislative session for the month of March, and testimony from several senators provided a pulse on how the feel about Dr. Sam Friedman's appointment to serve on the Guam Board of Medical Examiners. The outlook: not so good.

One could say Dr. Friedman's nomination was DOA when it hit session floor. Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. said, "He made specific allegations of wrongdoing at the hospital. Allegations such as "GMH is killing patients" and "there was a young woman who died in labor about two months ago. A totally preventable case - something that a junior medical student wouldn't do."

Allegations like that later found to be unsubstantiated. Senator Rory Respicio said, "I mean that's absolutely unconscionable."

While the oncologist later apologized for his comments, several lawmakers still couldn't support the nominee. The damage was done, what positive image GMH had before had flatlined. "It's those kinds of comments that lead to dividing our island this very divisive not productive in any way in hopes of truly solving the healthcare crisis here on the island," said Respicio.

Senator Tom Ada said, "As a result of the statement made has further done a lot of negative impact on the fragile confidence that our people have in our only public hospital, with Senator Chris Duenas adding, "In a couple of words put together, four years of hard work erased."

But if there's one thing Dr. Friedman did, senators said, he raised awareness. "Certainly everyone asking questions patients are insisting credentials are being looked at," said Sentor Aline Yamashita. "I think that's a good unintended outcome...I think Dr. Friedman already has made a tremendous contribution to shaking the tree and improving the system and the process here on Guam."

But for many, it wasn't enough garner support to confirm. "However, the manner and approach this appointee chose was really was very bothersome to me," said Rodriguez.

Dr. Friedman's nomination was moved to the voting file.

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