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Eni medivaced to Honolulu Thursday afternoon

Congressman Faleomavaega Eni has been medivaced to Honolulu for further treatment at Tripler Army Medical Center and the medical transfer was agreed upon by physicians at the LBJ Medical Center and the U.S. House’s Office of the Attending Physician.


However, the Congressman’s Office has declined to reveal why the 70-year old Faleomaveaga was admitted to LBJ early Tuesday morning after arriving from Honolulu on Monday night. Samoa News has still been unable to confirm reports that the veteran congressional member suffered from a bout of food poisoning.


Unconfirmed reports say the Congressman is on a ventilator, however, Faleomavaega’s Office in Washington D.C. in a statement yesterday morning reiterated that the Congressman, “is not in a life-threatening situation” but didn’t provide any other details.


It did say that the Congressman’s office is subject to the federal HIPAA Privacy Rule which protects health information held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral.


“While Faleomavaega is a public servant, LBJ is also not authorized to violate HIPAA rules for any reason or purpose,” it says.


According to the statement, the Congressman’s D.C. Office contacted the Office of the Attending Physician on Wednesday, and coordinated a conference call between the Congressional House physician and LBJ’s Dr. Jerome Amoa.


“After reviewing the Congressman’s stats, both physicians agreed that Faleomavaega is stable for travel and is not in a life-threatening situation,” the statement says. “Due to a lack of specialized capabilities [at LBJ], both physicians also agree that Faleomavaega should be provided medivac services to transport him to Tripler for further evaluation.”


Based on the physicians’ recommendations and immediately after the conference call early Wednesday evening, the statement says, Faleomavaega’s office worked directly with Hawaii’s Adjutant Gen. Darryll Wong, Col. David Molinaro of the Hawaii National Guard and Ron Ha of the Veterans Affairs office in Honolulu.


Former Adjutant General Robert Lee was instrumental in facilitating the process, and Hawai’i Gov. Neil Abercrombie “authorized and supported an immediate medivac”, it says.


“We thank everyone involved who has tirelessly worked through the night to secure an air crew and a military plane,” it says, adding that the medivac flight departed Honolulu around 8a.m. (Hawai’i time) yesterday.


The flight, coordinated by the Hawai’i National Guard, arrived yesterday afternoon at Pago Pago International Airport in Tafuna, and departed at about 4:30. Faleomavaega was taken to the airport by ambulance, which was led by a police escort. Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga traveled with the entourage that took the Congressman to the airport and several cabinet members and others were at the airport to see the Congressman off.


Faleomavaega’s office thanked LBJ’s management team and especially Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga “for pressuring the VA Clinic in American Samoa to also register the medivac request at the local level per protocol,” the statement says.


Faleomavaega’s office was informed by the Honolulu VA that American Samoa’s VA clinic “needlessly delayed the registration of the medivac”, even though the Congressman is a Vietnam veteran and also a former member of the Honolulu-based 100th Battalion 442nd Infantry Reserve Unit. (There was no immediate reaction from the local VA clinic on the allegation and Samoa News has been unable to ascertain the significance of the registration process.)


“We extend our appreciation to Governor Abercrombie and General Wong for moving forward and expediting a medivac despite the delay of the local VA Clinic,” the statement says. “Most of all, we appreciate the concerns and prayers of the people.”


The governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira said yesterday that Lolo is pleased the Congressman will have access soon to required medical treatment and attention in Honolulu. Additionally, the governor had been keeping close tabs on the progress of the medivac request.


Faleomavaega, who was first elected to office in 1989, had traveled to the territory Monday night to participate in the first ever Education Summit, which was a three-day event, that ended yesterday, and he had been scheduled to deliver the keynote address for the final session.