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Patient Stories - Kimokeo Kapahulehua

As seen in the Maui Health Foundation Annual Report...

The week leading up to a 12-mile canoe race, I had been feeling ill and weak. But I’ve canoed for decades and done much longer outrigger voyages, so I didn’t think it would be a problem.

It nearly cost me my life.

We ended up caught in high wind and surf. As we tried to paddle out to open water and away from the reefs, our canoe flipped and we ended up in the water. The swells were so big the safety team couldn’t see us, and no one knew what had happened until our canoe washed ashore. We spent about two hours in the water until we were rescued. I was so ill that I don’t remember much of that, and once on shore, I couldn’t stop shaking and got worse.

I was rushed to Maui Memorial Medical Center in septic shock. The culprit was a liver abscess, which worsened after being trapped in cold ocean water for two hours. I developed a severe lung infection and my kidneys began to fail. I was put in an induced coma and placed on equipment to keep my kidneys and lungs going.

The machinery kept my body alive, but I would not be here today if not for the skill and persistence of Dr. Shea and the ICU staff. Being a good doctor, nurse, or aide is one thing, but this team’s care for each patient as a person is entirely another: their commitment to doing whatever it took, 24 hours a day, was what returned me to a whole person.

It was a true expression of aloha.

Since then, I feel great. I travel, I canoe, my health is good and all I’ve needed since then is a regular annual checkup.

Dr. Shea and the entire hospital staff are my family, my ohana. And when I look at Maui Memorial Medical Center, I see more than a hospital. I see love and care for the family we call Maui.

Read more stories about Maui Health patients, our medical professionals, and donors in the 2019 Maui Health Foundation Annual Report.