What the West Maui hospital is and is not

Supporters of the proposed West Maui hospital have been termed “lifesavers.” But the major life-threatening conditions – heart attacks, strokes and accidents – require critical care by specialty teams of physicians, nurses, technicians, cardiac cath labs, high-tech operating rooms, stroke teams, intensive care units and blood banks available 24/7 – far beyond the capability of a small, limited bed/staff hospital.

Critical care must generally be within the golden hour to be lifesaving, and the standard of care is to transport patients to medical centers like Maui Memorial Medical – not delay them in hospitals that cannot provide the critical care. It is only right for the public to know, regarding donations and expectations, the true capabilities of the proposed hospital – approved as a critical access hospital, meaning it’s remote, but not as a critical care hospital.

The hospital could provide a clinic and beds for short- and long-term care, but not lifesaving measures as the public has been told and wants.

George S. Lavenson, M.D.