Candlelight vigil on Nov. 1
TWO families are seeking answers for their loved ones’ unexplained deaths at the Guam Memorial Hospital.
Both families are pushing for autopsy reports because they question the care their loved ones received at the hospital.
Bernard Crisostomo’s father died following a suspicious injury to his head which he incurred after being admitted to the hospital. Laura Kittel, on the other hand, was monitoring her mother from Australia as she received a series of surgeries before her death.
To call attention to their concerns, Kittel and Crisostomo are organizing a candlelight vigil at GMH, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. The vigil is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of Satyagraya, which is based on truth and non-violence.
“The candlelight vigil is to air our concerns and also to commemorate our loved ones’ deaths,” Kittel stated.
Crisostomo added, “Anybody else in the community who feels that GMH also wasn’t properly caring for their parents or themselves, we ask them to join us in this candlelight vigil.”
On Oct. 11, Joaquin S.N. Crisostomo was admitted to GMH for the flu and was supposed to be released three days later. However, on the second day, his son Bernard noticed his father had a head injury. None of the nurses or physicians could explain how the head injury occurred. From there, his health began to quickly deteriorate. Physicians reported internal bleeding and swelling in the leg. On Oct. 21, he passed away.
Crisostomo states that the cause of his father’s death was unclear. Just last Thursday, his request for an autopsy was granted.
“I know I can’t change the past right now because my dad is dead, but I want to make sure that no other family has to suffer. We’re speaking out to make sure that other families don’t have to suffer like this,” Crisostomo said.
Chronic appendicitis brought Karen Kittel to Guam Memorial Hospital on Sept. 13. Kittel was alone for the surgery to remove her appendix, because her daughter Laura was in Australia for college while her husband Robert Kittel was in Minnesota. The daughter called her mother daily to check on her progress.
On Sept. 19, Kittel was back in the hospital for another surgery to remove a herniated disk in her lower back.
On Sept. 21, Kittel went in for a third surgery to remove a missed part of the disk that had not been removed. Before she could be transferred to the Skilled Nursing Unit in Barrigada for care, she experienced a pulmonary embolism and died on Sept. 25.
Her daughter Laura was not notified of her death. Instead, she got the news from a friend in the United States, who had heard from a friend on Guam.
“I believe that, had my mother received proper care, she would still be here; it was preventable,” Laura Kittel said.
At this time, Kittel is still pushing to have an autopsy conducted. She is also striving to arrange a meeting with the nurses who had cared for her mother.
Both are dealing with the unexplained deaths of their parents and arrangements to pay proper respect and tribute to their parents.
“We’re going all the way. We’re not going to back down. We’re going to pen this case up and make sure that the public knows and addresses the problem we have on this island. We want to make sure that everyone on this island gets fair treatment and the care they are supposed to receive,” Crisostomo added.
Candlelight vigil on Nov. 1