Letters 6-21-13


Shark attack

Good people came together in a crisis

It goes without saying that good people come together when we find others in crisis. That was exactly the case when James Kerrigan, 28-year-old Kona man, was bitten by a shark on the right leg at Mahaiula Beach Tuesday. I know, I was there, shortly after the 911 call was placed.

My name is John Bertsch. I am a volunteer firefighter for Hawaii Fire Department stationed at 7-Bravo Palisades. Being in the area during the call, I responded immediately down the dirt access road to the beach. Upon arrival, I had no idea what to expect.

What I did find was a very calm scene with very competent beachgoers administering first aid, applying standard arterial pressure and compressing beach towels on the bite wounds to control bleeding while elevating Mr. Kerrigan’s leg, keeping him calm under an umbrella in some shade on the sand. Kerrigan was alert, lucid and appeared in good care. After my primary patient assessment, I felt it was best to keep everyone in place and await the arriving HFD paramedics who informed by radio that they were now only seconds out.

Those first few minutes in any life-threatening incident are critical and a big mahalo goes to those on the beach who reacted, got involved and stabilized Mr. Kerrigan. It was their quick thinking and selfless actions that made all the difference on the beach that afternoon. A special mahalo goes to HFD Rescue Station 7 Kailua personnel who responded quickly and performed exceptionally in remote conditions as did the Chopper 2 helicopter pilot and the onboard medic who completed the air transport to Kona Community Hospital.

Good people did come together to help another in crisis — and based on what I saw, this wasn’t their first time. Mahalo nui loa to all those who choose to make Hawaii a great place to live.

John Bertsch

Kailua-Kona

GMO

Consumers would be helped by labeling

With regards to the response from Alan Takemoto, manager for Monsanto Community Affairs, and his opinion that there are a lot of negative comments being made against GMO foods that should be considered propaganda: All I want to know is: Since people can charge more money for their food products when they label their food organic and if GMO food is supposedly good for you, why not label such food products “Made with GMO foods?”

Yet, as I understand it, Monsanto actually helped fund a no vote on the California proposition that would have made it mandatory to label all food made with GMO products with a GMO label. One reason people gave for voting against the proposition was that it would have been very costly for the food producer to do such labeling of all their GMO food products. This is not the case if the public’s perception evolved into the concept that GMO food was actually better for you than “ordinary food.” The public would pay more for such a product. This now dictates Monsanto’s mission. It needs to do more scientific research to determine if GMO food is better for you than ordinary food.

On the other hand, if GMO food actually does have some possible side effects, then wouldn’t such labeling aid the consumer in making decisions as to whether he wants to take that risk?

In either case, the evidence is clear that GMO labeling would aid the consumer in making an intelligent decision about purchasing food for consumption. Food which will ultimately end up affecting that individual’s health.

Carl Merner

Holualoa