2009 News Stories

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While in Hawai’i for the August recess, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye and his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, came to The Queen's Medical Center to visit the Emergency Department, Queen's Cancer Center and Women's Health Center. Both Senator and Mrs. Inouye also supported Queen's 150th anniversary fundraising event, "An Everlasting Legacy of Giving," by serving as Honorary Co-Chairs. (See related story below.)

A standing invitation had been extended to Senator and Mrs. Inouye earlier, so when they returned to Hawai’i, they took time out of their two-week stay to visit Queen's. The Senator—who has had a longstanding interest in health care long before the current debate on reform—saw his visit as an opportunity to see firsthand some of the recent changes at Queen's and hear directly from staff about the issues facing health care providers.

The first stop for Senator and Mrs. Inouye was the Queen's Emergency Room (see photo). Staff had the opportunity to discuss with them the current issues in emergency medicine in Hawai’i. The fact that the ER saw nearly 50,000 patients last fiscal year was noted, as well as Queen's reputation of accepting all patients regardless of their ability to pay and of providing the best care. Staff members stated that as unemployment rises during the recession, increased demands on services will continue due to the loss of health insurance benefits.

Doctors at the Queen's Cancer Center discussed cancer statistics and how many cancers disproportionately affect Native Hawaiians. Physicians informed the Senator that 50 percent of cancer patients in Hawai’i receive at least some part of their care at Queen's, ranging from diagnosis to treatment. The Senator was surprised to learn that the Queen's Cancer Center offers complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as acupuncture and massage therapy. Both he and Mrs. Inouye were impressed with the resort-like feel and décor of the Women's Health Center (see photo) and the range of services offered.

At the fundraising event, which was held the following evening, Senator Inouye said, "Yesterday was an inspiration—I really mean that." The Senator went on to say that he has served as honorary chair for many organizations, but it was the first time that he had been led around by people who were so exceptionally proud of their institution. "I am proud to be Chair," he concluded, noting that Hawai’i has an institution that ranks with many of the best health care centers in the U.S. Mrs. Inouye had equally kind words to share, saying that what came through strongly was the "warm spirit" of the staff and their sincere care for the patient.

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