Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Boston’s success at crisis care highlights what could be Honolulu’s crisis failure

There is so much capacity there [at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where many of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings were brought] that it’s no wonder—in my experience, it’s no wonder that people did really well, the patients did really well, once they got there.

by Larry Geller

The pull-quote above is “stolen” from an interview on Democracy Now (5/14/2013)  with Dr. Paul Farmer, an infectious diseases expert and a medical anthropologist. The interview was really about the poor medical resiliency in a country like Haiti, where generators fail and there is not enough hospital staff to handle an emergency. This isn’t Haiti, but I think Honolulu could learn from Boston.

Of course, if you read articles here, you can see why I latched onto that particular response by Dr. Farmer—because here we are in Honolulu with a shortage of emergency room capacity to the point where ambulances are reported to be diverted as ERs become unable to accept new patients.

Dr. Farmer said, “you need backup teams and backup teams.” Do we have those?

Following the Boston bombing we had a number of false alarms here in Honolulu, but thankfully no copycat disaster. The packages abandoned on the street did not explode. But suppose a large public event should be targeted in the future?

I keep writing, hoping that someone will pay attention. There are doctors waiting to serve, according to testimony given at a City Council hearing, but no physical facility to allow them to do so.

What are we waiting for exactly?


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