Letters — Another Lack In Services Uncovered

Aloha Tiff –

On Christmas Day, PCMC’s urgent care clinic was open and seeing patients until noon.  Unfortunately, we discovered that the Puna Pharmacy across the parking lot was closed.  Longs was open, but not their pharmacy.  We had our front desk person, Nalani, call every E. Hawaii pharmacy to find out who was open, so that we could refer our patients there to fill their prescriptions.  The only show in town was Hilo Medical Center. A long drive that not everyone can make.

There is something wrong with this picture.  The pharmacies who planned to be closed should have notified the providers.  They did not.  Ideally, the pharmacies should have arranged among themselves to have at least one of them open on holidays – probably on a rotating schedule.  Imagine a patient unable to get their meds… what about diabetics? blood pressure medicine for cardiac patients?  An accident victim who could get an antibiotic shot at our clinic, but not able to follow up with the oral antibiotics?  Someone with an abscessed tooth and no painkillers available? These people would not have a merry Christmas.

Any ideas how to deal with this problem so that it doesn’t happen again?  In time for New Years’ Day perhaps? I would like your readers to do some constructive brainstorming and take action.

Rene (Siracusa)

11 replies
  1. Damon
    Damon says:


    While I appreciate that the PCMC is in place…. EVERY SINGLE TIME I HAVE BEEN THERE…. I have simply been referred to somewhere else.

    The last time was when my son got a bead stuck in his ear and the PCMC pushed the bead further down into is head.

    We need a real hospital in Puna… not these make shift clinics that call in the ambulance for real services.

    Nice to have feel good clinics… but if they can’t provide the basic necessities of general health care… then it’s just a feel good general clinic.

    We need a full scale hospital here.

  2. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    We are trying to get an emergency room here. This is not for lack of trying. PCMC is a great effort to get a hospital built ultimately. This has been a community-driven effort. Any ideas for a hospital fundraiser?

  3. Yes
    Yes says:

    First idea of closing the laboratory and pharmacy in keeau should not have been done .Pahoa took
    All services removed them 30 miles . You should have added services not removed them from the larger community served by keeau . This same blunder of Redistricting screwed all puna mauka who wants nothing to do with Pahoa . Wow they get industrial district 30 miles away!!! So stupid . And they are not allowed to participate in illegal regional town That is the dumber than last Redistricting
    What did district 5 get?. They got all their open space ola’a waikea and keeau and highway 11 REMOVED to Hilo.
    Hilos third huge district
    To add injury to insult is allowing volcano in the Cdp. It belongs in Ka’u district. Besides the blatant sunshine violation .
    Redistricting maps and input were refused . maybe you Should have thought about your greed

  4. Seeb
    Seeb says:

    ERs are money pits. Maybe ataching a medical office park could defray some of the cost and attract some doctors out this way

  5. Greg
    Greg says:

    It’s difficult for small, locally owned businesses to compete with chains like Longs. Service, including more flexible hours, is one way to attract and keep customers.

  6. anon 88
    anon 88 says:

    PCMC open on Christmas Day speaks to the need for sure.
    It is was unfortunate the pharms in the local were closed.

    Inconvenient. Not a big deal in the scheme of things.

    Every town needs doctors who can start folks breathing and stop folks bleeding.

    The facility for this is too far away from more then half’s this islands population.

    Build them.

  7. Jasper
    Jasper says:

    you guys just drive up? welcome to da jungle baby, you didn’t bring your own? Anyone who’s had prescriptions and dealt with ALL the ‘drug’ stores on this rock should KNOW better. But it’s a slow learning curve.
    I wouldn’t use the Bay Clinic chain. Quite frankly I have to fly to other islands to get better medical care. Went to the PCMC once, wasted gas, should have went to Hilo, PCMC can’t even x-ray a broke limb.
    Going to Maui next month to get service I can’t get here. Like everything else here, it’s a joke. A, not funny joke, but it is what it is. And it’s been that way. It will remain that way. If you don’t know why you haven’t been here long enough.

    If you don’t have back up of all your meds shame on you. Who is responsible for you? You are. I have in my first-aid kit morphine, antibiotics, and along with all the usual bandages and wraps I also keep water activated cast making bandages, subcutaneous injection fluids and needles and knowledge to use them to keep something alive. And have done so. Didn’t know how before I got here, but I learn quick.

    Many things are closed on weekends and holidays. NOT NEW information. Assume everyone keeps bankers hours.
    But hey you don’t have to go move your car so it won’t be towed at 5 a.m. because of street sweeping, do you?
    You move to an island and expect everything you had in L.A. and it’s your mistake. It PUNA, that’s why. LOL

    You’ll learn…..maybe. This ain’t the Walton’s and docs don’t make house calls anymore. Drug stores are in the business for profit, NOT to help/service you.

  8. Marie Alves
    Marie Alves says:

    The Urgent Care in Keaau has the ONLY medical xray equipment between Ka’u and Hilo.

    It is also the ONLY private (not subsidized by government and grants) medical care between Kona and Hilo, all of Puna.

    That alone says a lot about Puna, and Hawaii.

    With Obamacare, this entire medical care non-availability will only get worse.

  9. Richard Bidleman
    Richard Bidleman says:

    The mere fact that someone was able to go to PCMC on a holiday is a plus. In is the only facility open on holidays in all of Puna Otherwise, it is off to the ER in Hilo.

    Maybe the pharmacies in Pahoa should “loan” a small supply of “essential” supplies to PCMC for those days both local pharmacies are closed.

    PCMC’s next step is open an ER in Puna. PCMC is a community effort. Get involved with the effort.

  10. Cathy Dumond
    Cathy Dumond says:

    Richard – that is an good idea. we almost ran into the problem but PP told us to make sure we didnt need anything on Christmas as they would be closed. Puna Pharmacy and the Urgent care have always been excellent service for us. Recently with my mom, hospice couldnt bring all her meds and Long’s in Hilo asked us to bring in Mom’s cards that late afternoon so they could do the prescriptions. Power was out here – I told Long’;s that so i couldnt fax it in either – I asked if I could read #’s off and fax as soon as power came up but nope. Puna Pharmacy called Long’s in (again) Hilo – got all prescriptions and had them ready when my husband went up there before the Hospice transportation brought Mom to the house. They even called and refunded part of the cost of prescriptions when insurance went through as we paid for them based on a different set of costs.

    Despite Damon’s experience, ours has always been awesome but thank goodness that has only been 4 x total (both of us 2 x’s) since they have been open!

    We do need an ER nearby, my hubby had his Blood sugar drop to 22 in late Nov…. the hospital seems a long way away even me following the ambulance…

  11. Jasper
    Jasper says:

    and is Hilo any better? Friend of mine was ‘dicked around’ for 6 months with local doctors complaining of back pain. Finally when it’s stage four they discover his cancer. If you were here where Hilo HOSPITAL lost it’s rank because of the screw driver in the back operation..
    The second most populated city in this state can’t even take care of it’s own. Anything major means a wild chopped ride to honolulu. Puna is NOT a place to be a sickly or accident prone person..

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *