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LETTERS for January 23 issue

By Staff | Jan 23, 2014

Public should be clear on hospital services

This is in response to Mr. Pluta’s letter in the Jan. 9 issue of the Lahaina News relating to my letter in the Dec. 26 issue regarding the proposed West Maui Hospital (WMH).

Mr. Pluta is the primary proponent of the WMH and leader of what is termed the “life savers,” part of the West Maui Taxpayers Association. In spite of saying that the proposed WMH would not be a heart center, the public has been given the unmistakable impression that the proposed hospital will be able to care for life-threatening conditions and “save lives.” But this is not true, and although the public on the West Side would like such a hospital, it is not realistic. The leading life-threatening conditions are heart attacks, strokes and serious accidents, and the proposed 25 acute bed hospital would in no way be able to manage these successfully or be equivalent to a medical center such as Maui Memorial Medical Center (MMMC), which has an excellent cardiac center, stroke center, and is a Level III Trauma Center.

Neither the West Side now, or the proposed WMH, has the type or numbers of specialty physicians, nurses, technicians and complex capabilities on a 24/7 basis to manage such conditions and save lives. The justification of “stabilizing” such patients at a WMH prior to transfer to MMMC is not valid, because without the capabilities mentioned above, it would be futile and would only irreparably delay, beyond the “golden hour” necessary, in getting such patients to the MMMC, where those lives could be saved.

It is not my opinion, as Mr. Pluta states, but the “standard of care” of the leading related medical associations that such patients go to the nearest cardiac, stroke and trauma centers. Bricks and mortar and the name “hospital” does not mean it is a critical care hospital – the staff and complex capabilities are what’s important.

Concerning the Certificate of Need, that was for a Critical “Access” Hospital (meaning simply remote), not a Critical “Care” Hospital. The only physicians that I am aware of who are in favor of the proposed hospital as characterized are those mentioned in Mr. Pluta’s letter, who are in an emergency room group serving small hospitals that is in line for a contract with the proposed hospital.

My qualifications for making this assessment were negatively and incorrectly alluded to in the Jan. 9 letter by Mr. Pluta, including the statement that the emergency room physicians, “unlike Dr. Lavenson, were actively boarded.” But I am boarded in the American Board of Surgery; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; have active state medical licenses; am an adjunct professor of surgery at the military medical school in Bethesda, Maryland, where I teach Advanced Trauma Life Support to the senior class prior to their deployment, as I do at Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu; am currently certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support; have helped care for casualties evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan at the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, on three occasions, in which all casualties required additional surgery and care in the intensive care unit; am on a committee at NYU – including those from the University of California-San Francisco and Oxford, England – to improve the prevention and management of strokes; actively participate internationally in organizations similar to Doctors Without Borders in Guatemala, American Samoa and Kwajalein; in the past served in combat hospitals in Vietnam and the Gulf War; and helped establish the Army’s first trauma unit at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the trauma system in Central California.

Long-term hospital beds and an increase in “urgent care” capability on the West Side with an appropriate facility could care for mild and moderate conditions. This would avoid many unnecessary trips to Wailuku for the public, lower the load on the MMMC emergency room and be of real value. This could and should be coordinated with our local physicians and medical facilities on the West Side and with MMMC.

In asking the public for donations for the proposed hospital in West Maui, there should be a realistic presentation to the public of the hospital’s true use and capabilities, and complete transparency on the destination and use of those donations.



Buses could help people evacuate during emergencies

Maui No Ka ‘Oi! A beautiful place to live surrounded by water.

I work on Front Street in Lahaina, so every time I see the water, waves from the ocean remind me of how my daughter and grandson survived Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Philippines. Thank God they’re alive.

I’ve had phobia since the tragedy happened. People are still hungry, especially the children.

I write this letter to let the government officials know to do some precaution and coordination, since we have a “tsunami warning” sometimes.

I know Maui is always prepared, but the traffic going to the evacuation centers is terrible. Why don’t we use the bus services to pick up people? That way, everybody can reach the shelters safely.

People living in the low-level area could take the bus, or the bus driver could pick them up – go around their designated area.

People can leave their cars at home or have a place like Lahaina Cannery Mall, which is accessible for people from Lahaina, to meet if the place will do so.



Lahaina project shouldn’t be fast-tracked

(The following letter was sent to the County Council’s Land Use Committee regarding the Kahoma Village Project.)

Thank you for allowing me to provide you with some additional information regarding the above project. I anticipate this will assist you in evaluating the state requirements necessary for a developer to establish in order to use section 201H-38 Zoning for Affordable Housing.

Clarification is in order here, as I assume that the developer and consultants have erroneously given you the incorrect information as it pertains to this area being tsunami-free or outside of the Tsunami Hazard Area. That is because they used older maps for Maui County that do not show tsunami areas.

In fact, most maps mistakenly used are FIRM (Flood Insurance Relief Maps released and used by FEMA), and they do NOT show Tsunami Hazard Areas.

This is very important for safety reasons, as we don’t want to purposely put residents’ life or property in jeopardy due to careless disregard.

This morning, I spoke with Anna Foust of the Maui County Civil Defense Agency. She kindly provided me with an updated Tsunami Hazard Area map as of March 2013. The map is of the area for the Kahoma Village Project. The County Clerk’s Office will provide you with a hard copy as well.

Because this project is in a Tsunami Hazard Area, it is my contention the developer, Stanford Carr, is disqualified from using this 201H-38 zoning, because it is not allowable under the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

It says they need to provide you with evidence that the project is not located in a flood plain or a Tsunami Hazard Area. Clearly, I am giving you information that shows you it is in a hazard area; therefore, they do not meet the criteria.

I am not a lawyer, and this will need to be assessed by the committee.