Letters: Mask-Wearing Views, Open the Track & Bring Back Cardiothoracic Surgeons to Maui

November 15, 2020, 7:56 AM HST · Updated November 16, 5:38 PM
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Letters to the Editor

Maui Now readers share their ideas and provide their opinions on issues big or small. You can, too. Go to the Letters to the Editor form to let your voice be heard.

Mask Wearing Should Be Optional in ‘Breezy Fresh Open Air Areas’

I must agree with the letter to the editor concerning masks in open air public areas. Wether it is on the beach or walking down the street, it seems apparent that in breezy fresh open air areas the wearing of a mask should be optional.

Though I am following the Governor’s decree, it appears that mandatory mask wearing in open air areas is taking the mandate a step beyond reasonable. When in close proximity to other individuals in any type of gathering it is a wise choice. I, however, question the logic behind mandatory mask wearing anywhere in public.

The next step is requiring masks while in your car or in your own home. The Governor seems to have crossed the line between reasonable public health concerns and logical use at one’s own discretion. — Sylvan Schwab, Haiku

Open the Yamamoto Track at War Memorial

It is a beautiful sight to see community residents safely exercising in county parks and facilities, playing basketball, baseball and swimming for instance. We now know that exercise and being outside in the sun to get Vitamin D3 both help keep us healthy during a pandemic.

It is disappointing that Parks and Recreation has no date to open the Yamamoto Track at War Memorial. We, the community track users, have been eagerly awaiting its opening since it closed to fix the parking lot. Since the sport of Track has already been labeled as “low risk” by the state DOH, there should be no hold up from opening the track.

Bathrooms can be cleaned just like all of the other facility and park bathrooms. The same protocols given to the other county facilities and parks can be adhered to at the track. Come on, Mr. Mayor and Parks and Recreation: Let’s open the track! — Cynthia Monteleone, Lahaina, local track coach and 2019 world champion track athlete

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Concerned About the Lack of Life-Saving Cardiothoracic Surgeons on Maui

I think it is important for Maui residents to know that there are no longer any cardiothoracic surgeons on the island. The last one I am aware of, Dr. Dorheim, was raided by Kaiser recruiters to relocate to Oahu several months ago. Dr. Drood left nearly a year ago when his negotiations fell through with Kaiser.

I was fortunate to have their services (implant of a pacemaker by Dr. Drood and by-pass surgery by Dr. Dorheim) before their departures, but now anyone requiring similar procedures have no other recourse but to go to Oahu or the mainland — assuming their condition allows them the time in an emergency to make the trip.

Kaiser Permanente, charged with managing Maui Memorial for the benefit of the island’s residents, have instead decimated cardio health care on Maui. Nevertheless, the hospital continues to falsely represent on its website as having cardiac surgeons on its staff providing the following procedures, among others:  Coronary artery bypass; Complex heart valve repairs; Surgery for adult congenital heart disease; Surgery for cardiac tumors; Thoracic and cardiovascular critical care; Thoracic procedures, including lung and esophageal; and heart rhythm devices, such as ICD/defibrillator.

Is this the improved health care services we expected and were promised when hiring Kaiser to manage Maui Memorial Medical Center? I think not and it’s time the public is made aware of the dire situation, especially with the many aging retirees on the island who may need cardiac intervention as I did and luckily received before this travesty occurred. — Bennett Arnberger, Kihei

Need Help with Rent, But Federal Funding Processed Too Slowly

I am pretty bummed. We have a rental supplement program here in Hawaiʻi, for which I would have qualified, but the mills run so slow that despite applying at the start of September for four payments of my whole rent of $1,235 each they screwed it up with their pathetic slow bureaucracy. Since they only pay out for the upcoming months, and the federal funds have to be used before the end of December, I might end up with one payment instead of four, if even that. If the federal money has to be returned,  I am out of $5,000 and pau in my savings.

Typical Hawaiʻi, where thousands have not even received a single unemployment check since March. Or maybe my name just did not sound Hawaiian enough for this Catholic charity. So some folks are left out, because they are ridiculously disorganized. I phoned weeks ago, actually on the day they stopped accepting new applications, and was told, that I had not even been assigned, but now I was. Meanwhile my landlord had received their questionnaire three weeks before that.This is like Russian Roulette! — Peter Pritzl, Kihei

Wish More People Viewed Mask-Wearing as a Life-Saver and Not a Character Flaw

The first reported death in the United States from COVID-19 was on Feb. 6, 2020. Since then, 279 unimaginably tragic days have passed and the baleful microbe has claimed over 240,000 American lives. Dare to average that out and the calculator will cite that 860 people have died each day.

To put that number in perspective, a Boeing 737 carries 189 passengers. If four crashed daily with no survivors, there would still be 104 less casualties than those attributed to the coronavirus. Even so, nobody would want to board a Boeing 737 because of the rational fear that they would be one of the unlucky ones.

As a husband and a father, I am terrified of the coronavirus. That fear keeps me away from my parents, isolated from friends, and covers my face with a mask. I wish more Americans would view the unpleasant emotion as a necessary motivator, not as a character flaw. — Andrew Ginsburg, Southport, CT

Let your voice be heard. Submit your letter for next week.

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