Concern for the Children of American Samoa

My name is Tangra Broge and I am a pediatrician. I too have been gravely concerned for the wellbeing of American Samoan children. While on-island I was privileged to work under Dr Marrone's leadership and deliver excellent medicine to the children on the island. At a time when the healthcare was/is in dire straights, I witnessed hospital administration push qualified physicians and other mid-level practitioners out for their own personal gain. Dr. Marrone was one of those individuals.

Dr. Marrone has impeccable credentials and is board-certified in pediatrics and tropical medicine. During Dr. Marrone’s 14 years of leadership the pediatric department was historically well staffed with ample local, international, and U.S trained pediatricians. A thriving rheumatic heart disease program was instituted with marked improvement in medication adherence and heart failure prevention. Dr. Marrone spearheaded biannual cardiology clinics in partnership with off-island pediatric cardiologists, providing invaluable specialized care and echocardiograms for high-risk pediatric heart patients. A “preemie program” for high-risk infants was instituted with tremendous success. Like many other qualified, trained providers, Dr Marrone eventually resigned due to the undue pressures from the CMO. 

During my time on-island I also saw the closure of the Primary Care Clinic at the LBJ Medical Center. This forced the resignation of the board-certified chief of Family Medicine, Dr. Sean Stracensky. In a territory with obvious need for preventative adult care this decision has resulted in a significant decline in services for adult patients and unprecedented wait times at the emergency department for refills and non-emergent services.

And recently I saw in Samoa News that distraught nurses were forced to use garbage bags for underpads in patient hospital beds and tearing and utilizing bedsheets for dressing changes! In a hospital that is funded by U.S. federal dollars, I think the need for action and correction of mismanagement is obvious. I still have many dear friends on the island and had hundreds of patients and families that I was privileged to care for. I hope that someone takes notice and intervenes for the people of American Samoa.





Parents of children with special needs network to address concer

On Monday, October 24, the Parents of Children with Special Needs.  network will address the gubernatorial candidates with 6 questions, one of which will address health care.  These critical issues will be brought up and we hope to see some true colors.  I will keep you updated!ma