Officials Try To Send Three Nurses To Chuuk

by Scott Radway

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News): July 22, 2002 - Officials attempted to send three Guam nurses to Chuuk State last night as some of those injured in recent landslides slipped into critical condition.

"It is still a very serious situation down there. Now what you are hearing is that patients are going critical," said Carlotta Leon Guerrero, co-director of the Ayuda Foundation, who noted health care in Chuuk is limited.

Heavy rains from then-Tropical Storm Chata'an triggered 30 landslides throughout Chuuk July 2, killing 47 people, injuring dozens and leaving upward of 1,200 homeless.

Saturday, an Air Force flight with two nurses turned back for Guam after bad weather prevented it from landing after three passes at the runway, said Leon Guerrero said.

The nurses were scheduled to fly on Continental Micronesia with one nurse returning with three patients this morning, Leon Guerrero said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Josie Pritchard said the patients are scheduled to be taken to Guam Memorial Hospital.

Thursday, GMH medical director Davina Lujan said there was no room at that facility for new patients. Six patients from Chuuk were sent to Hawaii earlier in the week.

GMH nursing supervisor Juanita Magallanes said hospital beds were about two-thirds full yesterday and no patients remained with injuries from Typhoon Chata'an, which hit Guam July 5.

Leon Guerrero said there is now a demand in Chuuk for people to train counselors to help residents traumatized by the landslides.

She said yesterday's heavy rains in Chuuk brought landslide flashbacks for residents and many are having difficulty coping.

"It looks like post-traumatic stress," Leon Guerrero said.