Kim has another heart attack
Big Isle Mayor Kim suffers heart attack
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HILO » Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, 69, suffered a heart attack early yesterday but was strong enough to drive himself to the nearest fire station for help, Managing Director Dixie Kaetsu said.
Kim was taken eventually to the Queen's Medical Center. His condition was not available.
Kim suffered two previous heart attacks - one in 2005 and a second one a month ago, after which he took things relatively easy, working half-days.
Kauai's mayor, Bryan Baptiste, died June 13, days after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery.
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HILO » Hawaii County Managing Director Dixie Kaetsu was optimistic about Mayor Harry Kim's condition following a heart attack yesterday morning, she said.
Kim drove himself about three blocks to the nearest fire station when he felt chest pains, Kaetsu said. He was transferred eventually to the Queen's Medical Center.
Kim's wife, Bobbi, flew to Honolulu to be with him, promising to inform Kaetsu if there was any change in his condition. Yesterday, Kaetsu had received no phone call, which she took as a positive sign.
"He's a strong guy," Kaetsu said.
In fact, a little more than a decade ago, when Kim was still head of the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency, he returned to work one day after undergoing neck surgery.
But yesterday's heart attack was his third. The first was in 2005, and he made an excellent recovery from it, Kaetsu said.
The second was just a month ago on Aug. 10. Kim turned 69 on Aug. 22 and was still recovering, but doing so in his own hard-working style.
He was working only half a day, leaving at noon daily, Kaetsu said. But he was also coming to work 45 minutes early every day to train new workers at Civil Defense, his former place of work for 24 years before he became mayor in 2000.
It was during those early 45 minutes that he suffered chest pains yesterday.
Bobbi Kim called Kaetsu at 8 a.m. during a Cabinet meeting to tell her the mayor had suffered a heart attack.
Kaetsu had seen him drive away from the Civil Defense building and was wondering why he was not at the meeting.
Kim is known to live a Spartan lifestyle, walking for exercise and often eating nothing more than an apple for lunch.
With barely three months left in his administration, there are two activities he is particularly focused on, Kaetsu said. One is transition to the next administration in December. The other is the financially weak position of Big Island hospitals.
Hospitals are a state function, not under Kim's jurisdiction, but he was still concerned about mobilizing community support to get hospital problems solved, Kaetsu said.
Hilo Medical Center is short $7.9 million, Kona Community Hospital, $5.3 million, and the private North Hawaii Community Hospital, $9 million.
Ironically, solving those problems would do nothing to change the need to fly Kim and others to Honolulu whenever they have a heart attack, Kaetsu said. No hospital on the Big Island is equipped to provide cardiac care beyond the immediate administration of clot busters and sedatives, she said.