Mayor Baptiste to carry precious cargo to the Philippine Islands soon

Members of the Rotary Club of Poipu Beach have received the help of Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste to transport a critical piece of medical equipment to Cebu, Philippines, to benefit indigent patients, club members said.

Baptiste, who leaves for the Philippines this Tuesday, Jan. 3, will turn a laryngoscope over to Philippine Rotarians when he arrives in Cebu Province on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Cebu Port Center will then transport the instrument three and a half hours north to Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital at the far end of Cebu island.

“We needed some help in getting that special instrument to the hospital right now,” says Dr. Craig Nishimoto, a veterinarian and president of Rotary Club of Poipu Beach.

“A laryngoscope is used to put in breathing tubes for critically ill or injured patients. The hospital no longer had a laryngoscope that would work, so we have to get one there fast if lives are to be saved,” Nishimoto said.

“A team of Kaua‘i Rotarians, doctors and nurses will be leaving for Cebu on (Saturday) February 18th with medical equipment and a large supply of medicine, but that’s too long to wait for this instrument. It truly is a matter of life or death,” he said.

Baptiste will meet with both government officials and Rotary club leaders in Cebu. The Rotarians will provide him with a brief tour of Cebu City, and then take him to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), the sister hospital to Kaua‘i’s Wilcox Memorial Hospital.

VSMMC is the hospital of last resort for Cebu’s indigent patients, Kaua‘i Rotarians said. Kaua‘i doctors and nurses including Jackson have volunteered for several medical missions at VSMMC since 2001.

Over the past year, leaders at Wilcox Memorial Hospital have donated intravenous pumps and anesthesia machines to VSMMC doctors, resulting in greatly-improved patient safety at that hospital, Jackson said.

Members of Rotary clubs in Hawai‘i have the responsibility of transporting donated equipment to Cebu.

“We’ve been on medical missions to Cebu twice this year,” says Leila Fuller, Poipu Beach Rotarian. “The governor of Cebu Province, Gwendolyn Garcia, has asked Rotary’s help to upgrade the very-poor medical services now available,” she said.

“To that end, Hawai‘i Rotary clubs will transport cardiac-monitoring equipment to both VSMMC and to Severo Verallo Memorial. Neither hospital had working EKG machines or monitoring capability prior to this year,” said Fuller.

“Patients with heart problems usually didn’t survive.” Baptiste will meet with Garcia, and it is expected that she will present her vision of improved health care to him.

“Our medical and Rotary partnership with Cebu is just getting started,” said Nishimoto. “We’re looking at a future of increased health opportunities for Cebu’s marginalized patients.

“That’s our goal,” said Nishimoto.

“We are very grateful to Mayor Baptiste for his timely help. The laryngoscope that he’s carrying, and the cardiac equipment for Severo Verallo Memorial, have been purchased through a very generous donation from the Evslin Family Foundation of Stowe, Vermont.” Dr. Lee A. Evslin, a Wailua Homesteads resident, pediatrician and former president and chief executive officer of Wilcox Health (Wilcox Memorial Hospital and Kauai Medical Clinic), will make the trip to Cebu next month, Jackson said.

For more information on Rotary’s next Cebu mission, please call Jackson, 332-9281.

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