Hello, everyone. My name is Dr. Jim Marrone, and I am a U.S. Board-certified pediatrician originally from California who lived and worked in American Samoa and at LBJ for over 14 years, from 2001-2015. From 2008 until late last year (when the Hospital Management and I could not come to an agreement on the renewal of my contract), I was also the Chief of Pediatrics there. So I feel like I should definitely have a whole lot to add to this site… I also agree that it is clearly high-time that some of these things be not only thoroughly discussed in public, BUT FINALLY REMEDIED!
Despite the incredible warmth and generosity and spirit of the Polynesian culture and its people on island, there are also undoubtedly heaps of problems in American Samoa ranging from educational, to governance, to financial and of course medical, which is not even to mention a decaying infrastructure much like there is in many other parts of the U.S. as well.
In any case, I firmly believe that one of the highest, if not THE HIGHEST priorities of the “powers that be” in the Territory absolutely must be THE HEALTHCARE OF ITS PEOPLE. After all, what kind of society or civilization for that matter do we really even have, if basic healthcare provision cannot be guaranteed for our people? And certainly I would not absolve the U.S. Government of its serious responsibilities there, since it promised this in writing to the residents of AS all the way back in 1901.
Furthermore, I am of the belief that the LBJ Hospital in its current state is tragically but only a window into a very messy house that is the Territorial Governance of American Samoa, obviously under the auspices of good ol’ Uncle Sam. So I want to hereby pledge to do my part in cracking open these rusty older doors and windows, and at least trying to help let some “fresh air” into the place!
Happy blogging and forum-posting to all, and I look very much forward to your thoughts and observances (and potential solutions!) here.