There was a bellower in the hospital bed across the hall from me. He
would yell Eeeyyyy! (not in the cute Arthur Fonzerelli style), and because this
is Maui, the nurse would bellow back. He’d bellow, she’d bellow. My pretty young doctor came in and said she’d only been on Maui a month but she was already moving to the hospital on Oahu. Seems she couldn’t take the “community” style of doctoring here, which is a nicer way of saying what might be considered “unprofessional” elsewhere…Like that bellowing nurse.
The reason I’m in the hospital is because of a botched (gallbladder) surgery from five years ago. Everyone told me not to have surgery on Maui, and because I hadn’t done it before, I didn’t believe them. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty. Three more procedures later, I thought everything was solved, but no, Here I am, back in the hospital.
I’ve lost track of the number of physicians I’ve had at Kaiser on Maui. You see, they move to Paradise thinking everything is going to be perfect, and when they find out how little they make compared to the cost of housing, or how much private school will be for their children, they leave. Then there are the ones like my young doctor in the hospital who just moved here from Chicago and simply can’t take the country-style feel of medicine on Maui.
Remember the movie “Doc Holiday?” It’s kind of like that, except there’s no
happy ending, where the doctor actually stays on.
The big joke here is that when you check into Maui Memorial Hospital, you don’t check out. You’re dead. A friend of mine is married to a radiologist on Maui and when he got blood poisoning he refused to stay in the hospital. And he cited the above quote as the reason why.
Another practice on Maui is “rent a doctors.” Doctors and nurses come here because it sounds like fun to be in Paradise for a while. And they are only temps. The question is, where did they come from? How good are they? Are they running from problems elsewhere?
I’m not saying you can’t find a perfectly fine physician to treat your cold or flu on Maui. I absolutely love my GP and my OB/GYN (both female.) You just might want to rethink the whole surgery thing. So that means getting on a plane when you feel like snot to FLY to Oahu or the mainland to have your surgery. And guess what? Kaiser frowns on the practice and won’t pay for your airfare!
Much of the basic problem with my healthcare started with the fact that I had a surgeon five years ago who hadn’t had enough practice. We’re only a population of 150,000 people (100,000 twelve years ago). How much practice can they get? Always ask how many procedures a surgeon does per year and compare it to Information online that states how much experience a doctor should have. My doctor on Maui was performing about 1/10 the number of procedures needed to stay proficient. Another thing people don’t think about when they move to Paradise…
Orange you glad it was me in the hospital, and not you?
Many, many thanks to those of you who wrote to express your
good wishes while I was in the hospital. Mahalo nui loa for your care and
A hui hou! Mahalo for stopping by.
Very sorry to hear that you are in the hospital, and moreover in the hospital in Maui. I do wish you a quick recovery. A friend of mine on the island told me Maui is the only place in the US where the alternative doctors are much better than the real doctors. …
That’s an interesting observation! Thank you for weighing in, and for your good wishes.
Hi there, I absolutely love your blog. I have been searching for “real” advice on living in Maui for a while. I go back and forth, deciding, because of things like this. Some say yes, some say no…is it really that bad?
Jamaica, I’m loving your blog with “real” Maui living advice! This is a big topic for me – I’ve heard some say the healthcare is as good as anywhere else and others say its terrible….do you think its really that bad?
In my blog post tomorrow I will cover another topic on Maui Medical care. Lots to think about! Thank you for writing and for your interest in the blog.