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GMH's old age starting to show

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - While most of the island reported little to no damage following Typhoon Vongfong, the hospital took a little beating of its own.

Band-aid fixes probably won't cut it in the future, as hospital administrator Joseph Verga said, "Right now, we're still assessing the damage. I'm not sure that this specific storm produced any specific damage or severe damage to GMH but these storms produce a cumulative effect over the years on GMH's infrastructure."

And GMH's old age is beginning to show - as Verga reports the biggest of their concerns through condition of readiness one was keeping the water out. "And that's why with every storm, the leaks become a little bit worse, the cracks become a little bit wider," he said. "As you walk around the hospital you may see leaks near windows or doors or things of that nature - there are various places and various locations where you'll see these types of leaks. But we clean them up as quickly as possible but again, the more severe the storm, the more severe the leaks get."

Today, "wet floor" signs and trash cans are strategically placed throughout the ground level to catch any leaks from the ceiling. But it's not just concerns for a slip a fall as water damage typically results in mold. "We make rounds to look for moldy ceiling tiles, mold on the walls one of the things we really need to have replaced is the roof here at GMH that's one of the first areas of improvement that we've identified to correct the leaks," the administrator told KUAM News.

Looking ahead, Verga hopes to work with the administration to secure funding to cover the hospital's capital improvement projects, including repairs to the leaky roof.

Overall though, Verga says with all hands on deck through the typhoon, the rest of hospital operations were smooth sailing. "GMH came through the storm very well. We're well prepared. That's why we plan, we prepare, and we practice. We had the staff here since last night, since COR1 and all the way through this morning," he said.
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