Lawmakers end silence on malpractice arbitration issue

ASHER: Asher Lubofsky is shown in a social media post by his father, David Lubofsky. Asher Lubofsky died on Oct. 31, 2018. Photo courtesy of David Lubofsky

Asher Lubofsky and his family had just returned to their home on Guam from the Philippines on Oct. 27. The 5-year-old began to feel unwell after coming home, but no more than what would worry his father, David Lubofsky.

On Oct. 29, Asher Lubofsky had his annual physical examination at Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic. The boy's doctor was told Asher had been feeling unwell and was given some fever medication but the doctor did not think anything was wrong, David Lubofsky said.

Asher Lubofsky died two days later.

His sudden death devastated the Lubofsky family. The exact cause is still unknown. An autopsy report has not been issued, according to David Lubofsky. Only a "generalized viral infection" is cited as the cause of the boy's death.

The lack of information has David Lubofsky wanting answers, not only to know what killed his son, but also whether there is a larger public health issue on the horizon.

David Lubofsky said Dr. Aurelio Espinola, Guam's chief medical examiner, told him it was the first time in 40 years of practice that he had seen a viral infection so severe. It had impacted every organ, David Lubofsky said.

But the medical examiner said he would not include this in the report and would only describe medically what he's observed, David Lubfosky added.

"You're talking about a child that's perfectly healthy dying in two days. I told Dr. Espinola this must be some kind of serious disease. ... Is it contagious? How did he get it? We're left with no answers. We don't have the report. ... Is this a public health concern?" David Lubofsky said.

The hospital never performed a viral culture, David Lubofsky said. A culture is used to grow a virus sample so that it can be identified later.

AG seeks input

The Guam Memorial Hospital Authority has not responded to inquiries from The Guam Daily Post about David Lubofsky's claims.

Anita Gerling, a supervisor at SDA, told the Post that the clinic was not allowed to release information or make comments about its patients, due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The Office of the Medical Examiner said Espinola would not release any information on Asher Lubofsky's death or information on any case. When asked why, the Post was referred to the Office of the Attorney General.

The attorney general's office told the Post that Espinola had not informed them of "any emergent issues raised by the boy's death."

"Based on what is being reported in the media, we have requested the (medical examiner's) office for input," said Carlina Charfauros, spokeswoman for the attorney general.

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