KAPAA — Lance Segawa, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Kauai Region CEO, was forced to delay his trip to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital Wednesday morning.
“Today is a very extra, extra special day,” said Josie Pablo, HHSC Kauai Region recreational director. “Today, the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital is turning 102 years old, and Mr. Segawa is blowing out the candles after we all sing ‘Happy Birthday.’”
Mahelona Hospital was established in 1917 by Emma Wilcox in memory of her son, Samuel Mahelona, who died of tuberculosis at the age of 28.
“You can visit the handsome young man whose portrait is in the lobby,” Pablo said. “He’s watching Kay Mones and the Kids Fit Crew prepare for a special performance to help us celebrate the hospital’s anniversary.”
The energetic performance from the Kids Fit Crew had the hospital’s residents and staff literally dancing in the aisles while waiting on cake, ice cream and the hospital’s own orange rolls that Segawa helped distribute to the residents before leaving for his KVMH duties.
“Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital is 79 years old,” Segawa said. “Mahelona Hospital is celebrating 102 years. Combined, that’s nearly 200 years of providing medical services to Kauai’s people. This is due in part to the professionalism and dedication of our staff, and l hope to see another 200 years.”
During its 102-year history, Mahelona Hospital has evolved from a 50-bed tuberculosis hospital to a critical access hospital with a long-term-care unit, a behavioral health unit, an emergency room, and acute and outpatient services.
Mahelona Hospital, along with KVMH, became part of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation for the Kauai Region heath care facilities in 1996.
In 2005, Mahelona Hospital became a critical access hospital and opened its 24-hour emergency department.
“I want to thank the hard-working, dedicated employees and volunteers who made Mahelona Hospital what it is today,” Pablo said. “I am so happy to be a part of this family, and I can’t wait to see the many more changes at Mahelona.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.