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Elder Vince Haleck credits church for LBJ’s new surgical service

Elder Vince Haleck (left) — with Dr. Gregory Patch

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Elder Vince Haleck spoke Monday during the LBJ Medical Center news conference where it was announced that starting yesterday, the hospital is offering  orthopedic knee replacement surgical services, under the leadership of Dr. John Edwards, and made possible with the help of the LDS Church, said LBJ chief executive officer Faumuina John Faumuina.

“This has been an undertaking. It has taken some months to come together. And through our close collaboration with [Faumuina] and the team here, we’ve been able to, through the help of the Church… and I give full credit to the leadership of the Church — who saw and understood the needs of our people,” said Haleck.

According to him, there have been a couple of other Church physicians “who have come here to visit, to see first hand, as I was describing to them the conditions at the hospital.”

 “They wanted to come and see it for themselves. We brought them here, they toured the hospital, and they confirmed all of the things that I was talking to the [Church] leadership about -  the needs, especially those on the orthopedic side, to have knee replacements done here on island versus sending many patients” off island, he explained.

“Now the operations will be done here, recuperation will be done here, and rehab will be done here. Everything will be done here,” he continued, adding that the Church is grateful for the great working relationship it has with LBJ. “And none of this is possible if we weren’t all on the same page with the same goal, to provide better quality health care for our people here in American Samoa.”

Haleck then introduced Dr. Patch, who is also serving a mission, just like Dr. Edwards, who is here for 18 months with his wife, who is a registered nurse. “They’ll be contributing their talents here as well, to the Radiology Department,” he said.

Drs. Edwards and Patch will be here on rotation for a year and a half, and the Church is looking for replacements right now, for when they depart. “But it’s invaluable what Dr. Edwards is doing right now, to train the orthopedic team to carry on these operations after he departs,” Haleck said.

Again, “I give full credit to the leadership of the Church, who love this place, who love its people, and want to see better health care. And so this is a contribution from the Church through its tithings and other services it provides to help the people of American Samoa,” he concluded.