‘Silently suffering’: Surgeon starts petition, demands change at Maui’s main hospital

Maui Memorial Medical Center's trauma director Stephanie Yan says the problems go beyond burnout.
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:47 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 8:05 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Healthcare workers on Maui are demanding change at the island’s only acute care hospital.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Stephanie Yan said they were excited when Maui Health, affiliated with Kaiser Permanente, took over the main hospital in Wailuku five years ago.

But she said problems have only gotten worse.

“We can’t just keep leaving. They can’t just keep getting rid of us. I want to stay,” said Dr. Stephanie Yan.

Yan fights back tears as she shares her story. She said workers feel unheard and physicians are suffering silently because of the lack of support at Maui Memorial Medical Center.

“On some of my surgical calls, I feel like I’m practicing third-world medicine,” Dr. Yan said. “We were hopeful that Kaiser Foundation, this big name, this big hospital system that runs many hospitals in California would bring in and infuse this island with that kind of resources. But it didn’t come.”

Yan was recruited from Queens Medical Center to be Maui Memorial Medical Center’s trauma director. She said the problems go beyond burnout.

The critical care surgeon started an online petition five days ago that has garnered more than 1,700 signatures.

“The response from other doctors who’ve been through the trenches, they’re like, watch your back, have a Plan B. The people here are very, very fearful,” Yan recalled.

She also said state legislators should be questioning why so many healthcare professionals are leaving the hospital.

Hospital officials said in a statement that the pandemic has dominated the industry and healthcare has been immensely impacted throughout the nation.

“The pandemic and its effects have contributed to a well-documented nationwide trend of many professionals reflecting on balance in their lives and deciding to make changes,” Maui Health officials said.

Below is the full statement from Maui Health:

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