Letters | 6-9-14


Letting doctor go is a bad decision

This is an open letter to Miles Takaaze, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation spokesman, quoted in an article in both the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today on June 5, regarding cuts in Hilo Medical Center staffing. I would like to ask him how the termination of one of only two urologists can possibly be justified? It appears from the news article that no other doctors were terminated.

It so happens that my husband had dire need of her services beginning in January of this year. After an initial visit to the emergency room at Ka‘u Hospital, he was given an appointment with Dr. Lyric Santiago. Over the course of the next several months he visited her a number of times, and eventually underwent surgery. I believe she saved his life. At the very least, she enhanced his quality of life. At his last appointment, he was informed that she was being terminated, and that the only other urologist associated with Hilo Medical Center was too busy to take on any new patients.

With the increase in the number of people able to obtain health insurance, I will presume that there will be some looking for treatment, not only of a urologist, but other health care professionals. It seems ludicrous to me that this is the only doctor being let go. So, to all of you folks out there, and it will be a lot of the elderly — have a kidney stone, trouble urinating, enlarged prostate, urinary tract infection? — well, jump on that plane (at your own expense) and go to Oahu. Like that is the be-all and end-all in health care for the people of Hawaii. I foresee a lot of suffering as a result of this decision.

I can’t imagine that becoming a doctor in this particular profession is the top of the list, and bless all of those dedicated professionals in this field. To other patients of Santiago, if she has improved your health with her service, speak up and call or write Hilo Medical Center to voice your concerns.

Sheri McDaniel

Naalehu