Non-COVID diseases deserve your attention too

Although we all have been consumed by COVID concerns, and rightly so, there is a disease that has been here in its many and varied forms before COVID, during COVID, and it will be here after COVID. I’m talking about cancer.

Kaua‘i, even though it is considered a rural community, is very blessed to have an excellent cadre of highly-skilled doctors and physicians’ assistants and nurses who have not taken their feet off the gas pedal for one moment during this COVID pandemic. Dr. Juliet Seigle and her remarkable team have brought radiation therapy to Kaua‘i (Kaua‘i Oncology Institute LLC), and have thereby made it possible for our cancer patients who need radiotherapy treatment to not have to go to O‘ahu. Please take a moment and think about her and about our Kauaians with cancer, as interisland travel has again become very frightening, particularly for those of us who have a compromising medical condition. She is nothing less than a savior.

We also have our very own expert oncologist Dr. Neil Barth and his dream team of nurse practitioners and infusion center nurses and clinical assistants and clerks. They have been rock-steady in providing treatment and remission and oftentimes full-on cure to our citizens who need chemotherapy for their cancer. Not to mention emotional support. I have heard some people call them angels.

And backing them up we have an amazing Hospice and Palliative Care team, led by Dr. Nancy Long, who provide pain management and overall support (including extraordinary family support) to this group of our fellow Kauaians as they work through their challenge.

There are many people in many walks of life who have maintained Kaua‘i throughout this COVID crisis. This special team certainly is among those who merit our great admiration and appreciation.


Monty Downs, M.D. is an ER Physician at Wilcox Hospital.

  1. a. kauaian August 19, 2020 2:41 pm Reply

    Outstanding Opinion Column, Dr. Downs! Because we recently dealt with cancer, we have had experience with all the people and departments whom you mention. I agree 100% with everything you said about everyone. We are certain that we received the best care possible, as good as, and even better than, many of the “big” cancer centers on the mainland. Those who do this work do it out of love and compassion. Angels indeed!

    And Kauai Hospice is fantastic. The first time we met with the Hospice Nurse, she told us to let them take over and do everything. We did that; we just let go and they did, in fact, take over with complete efficiency and kindness. Also worthy of recognition is Gammie Homecare. When Hospice called them for equipment, they responded and showed up when they said they would. Their representative then showed us, with patience and guidance, how to use the equipment.

    Dr. Downs, I do not know you personally. I feel that I know “who you are” because of the many altruistic things you do for the people of Kauai. Thank you, thank you for enriching our island and helping to keep us safe and healthy.

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