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Dear Editor,

In the early morning hours of May 27, 2019, there was a devastating fire in the Ottoville area across from the Mormon church. Three houses were completely destroyed by that fire for a total loss of all contents. While there were no fatalities, local news sources also reported that no one was hurt.

Unfortunately, these reports were in error as there was actually one person who suffered serious burns to 20-30 percent of his total body surface area, including his scalp, arms, shoulders, down most of his back and over one buttock. I was that person, and as result of my injuries I had to be hospitalized for two weeks time.

The purpose of this letter, however, is not to chastise the media for their erroneous reporting. Rather, its purpose is to praise the staff at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center for their compassionate, professional care in tending to my injuries, for without their care, I would likely now be dead.

While all of the staff at LBJ, from the housekeepers on up to the doctors, played an important role in helping me make a full recovery and overcome my serious injuries, I would especially like to thank the nurses there who played a critical role in saving my life. Those nurses were not only very kind and loving, but kept a constant watch over me, monitoring my vital signs, administering antibiotics to stave off infection, changing my dressings, and otherwise taking just excellent care of me. They were truly on the front lines of saving my life, and I can say from personal experience that they care for all patients with a great deal of love, compassion, and empathy as well as a high degree of professionalism.

While there were so many LBJ medical staff involved in helping me make a full recovery, ranging from community nursing assistants on up to registered nurses and doctors, I would like to especially thank a few by name including Don (in ER), Stan, Lina, Denise, Trish, Dannielle, Ty, Toe, Lupe, Oni, Sili, Manu, and of course Dr. Gayapa and his team of doctors who oversaw my care in the surgical ward. While I apologize for having inadvertently left off the names of the many, many orderlies and community nursing assistants who also helped care for me, please forgive my error in not remembering all of your names, and know that I will never forget you and what you did for me.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the local Red Cross staff and volunteers who, without being contacted by either myself or my family, showed up at the hospital to render financial assistance to us in a time of need. Thank you Leilani, Lipe’a, Faasae’i, and June. I must also mention Mr. and Mrs. Lin of the worldwide Tzu Chi Foundation who have been serving the needs of disaster victims around the word since 1966 and here in American Samoa since 1998. To tell you the truth, I had absolutely no idea that these organizations were rendering such great assistance to such victims here in American Samoa until my most unfortunate incident, and I would urge all residents of the territory to given them their utmost and full hearted support.

So again, thank you to all of those professionals at LBJ who came to my aid in a time of great need. You literally saved my life.

And to all the people and citizens of American Samoa, never overlook the needs and concerns of these dedicated and wonderful health professionals, as you never know when you may come to depend upon them to save your own life or that of a loved one. They are perhaps the most compassionate, caring people on this island and deserve nothing but your full love, appreciation, and support.


Bryan M. Jackson