DOE Medical Facility: A Small Office with a Big Heart

On October 22, 2012, Ambassador Armbruster and Embassy Majuro IMO/GSO/RSO Officer Fred Reichard visited the Department of Energy Medical Facility on Majuro Atoll.  Since the 1950s, the Department of Energy has had a presence in the Marshall Islands, attending to patients affected by a nuclear test conducted in 1954.  Originating from the atolls of Rongelap and Utrok, patients that are treated at the DOE medical facilities undergo age and gender-specific, annual comprehensive, medical screening examinations, with emphasis on cancer detection and treatment of malignant tumors, as well as coordinating care for medical referral patients as required.  Other types of examination include thyroid ultrasounds and palpation as necessary, as well as other medical conditions that can be treated on an outpatient basis.

The overall objectives are to conduct annual comprehensive medical screening examinations and improve the quality of care provided to the 125 eligible patients utilizing the latest technology available in the RMI, implementing compassionate delivery of care, and giving back to the community as time and resources are available.  Community meetings are scheduled twice a year on Majuro and Ebeye, with the next meeting scheduled during the week of November 13, 2012 on Majuro and November 15, 2012 on Ebeye.

The DOE medical facilities at Majuro and Kwajalein have grown over the years.  The pharmacies now stock numerous medicines, many of which are for symptoms not related directly to radiological exposure.  The facility’s dedicated staff include Dr. Gael Lavina; Hemiko Bingram, Staff Nurse; and Karina Aliven, in charge of logistics.  These dedicated health professionals are doing a wonderful job of treating the nuclear-affected patients with dignity and care.