Letters for Thursday, January 3, 2013

In defense of Wilcox HospitalPowell’s death was preventable

In defense of Wilcox Hospital

I was saddened to read of the death of Brian Powell. Any death of a young man is tragic. Wilcox Memorial Hospital is a non-smoking facility in accordance with Hawai‘i state laws.

Every patent that is admitted to Wilcox is offered both counseling and medical treatment if they are smokers. If a patient is well enough to leave the hospital and smoke, it makes sense that they are healthy enough to be treated in an outpatient setting in an environment in which they can smoke freely.

According to Dr. Sparks, Brian Powell was admitted with medical problems. There is no locked or psych ward at Wilcox Hospital. Any inpatient psychiatric care is done at Mahelona Hospital.

If his problem were psychiatric, surely he would have been transferred there. Any death of a young person is tragic. To blame the death of Brian Powell on the non-smoking policy of Wilcox hospital or its employees from doing their job is ludicrous.

He did not die at Wilcox Hospital or in its care. It demeans the life and death of Brian Powell as much as it demeans Wilcox Hospital, Kathy Clark and its employees.

Michael Johnston


Powell’s death was preventable

Brian Powell was a close friend of my son. He was a loyal friend, but, quite frankly, his behavior was a bit erratic.

But, behind that exterior was a caring, torn man. His health was increasingly failing. His blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels, his kidneys were failing, his lungs filling with fluid. Brian’s mind was confused.

When his blood pressure fell too much, he blacked out and broke his foot in six places as he fell. He was taken to Wilcox Memorial Hospital and cared for well.

A trip to Queens Medical Center for foot surgery had to be postponed because of fluids in his lungs. He left his room to smoke in the parking lot.

Administrators came to his room and threatened him for doing this. Brian, maddened by their threats and demeanor, left the hospital.

Within a week he died with blood flowing from his mouth alone in a motel room. DO NO HARM!

Did Wilcox follow the medical oath?

Were policy and rules put ahead of patient care?

Were alternative measures ignored?

Did the hospital just want to get rid of a difficult patient while ignoring the consequences?

The questions abound, but their answer will not bring Brian back.

I feel his death was preventable.

I feel the uncaring hospital crushed his free spirit of nonconformity.

Does this story represent the Kaua‘i in which we want to live?

Bill Butler



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