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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gov. Togiola transported today to Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu

(UTULEI) - Governor Togiola Tulafono today was transported on an Air Force C-17 aircraft for Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hawai’i for further medical assistance.

At the airport this morning, Acting Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia said the medical evacuation (medevac) was requested late yesterday evening after consultation with LBJ doctors and Governor Togiola.

The following is the official statement from Acting Governor Ipulasi:


“I had been having discussions regarding a request for medevac off island with the doctors and the attending physician at LBJ Hospital since Governor Togiola was first admitted on Sunday, January 6th. Not because our local doctors are inferior, but I felt the medical equipment off island was better.

While recuperating from the first operation, the Governor experienced complications and it was my belief at the time that perhaps updated medical equipment off island could determine whether a second operation is required.

At the time, I gave in to the doctors because after all it was a medical decision. It was also difficult, at the time, to push my argument for a medevac because Governor Togiola told me that he wanted to be treated by the same doctors and same nurses who treat everyone else in American Samoa. And he wanted to take the same medicine that is available to them.

Although I was assuming the responsibilities of the Governor, he was still the Governor, and I’m still the Lieutenant Governor. As long as he is capable of making decisions while he is on island, he is still the Governor. So, at the time, I backed off from my argument of having the Governor transported off island to seek medical treatment.

By the tenth day in the hospital, I was even more concern, and I thought, perhaps, I should push my argument that he be taken off island. The traditional leaders of Tutuila and Manu’a, and the leaders of the Fono had advised me that I should highly consider transporting the Governor off island. I felt it was taking a little too long for the Governor to recover from an appendectomy. I was told on the first day that it was a very simple procedure, at the most 45 minutes, that by that Sunday evening the Governor will be able to sit up and the next day I will see the Governor walking around. Well, that didn’t happen and I became very concern. But, it became their call since they were the doctors and I am not a doctor.

And then after the second operation, it got to the point where I believed that it was time for me to make a Lieutenant Governor decision, and let me take full responsibility from that moment forward. So, we requested the medevac and they were able to come down very quickly and today they have transported the Governor to Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu.

We are very thankful that the Medevac team were able to fly down and provide the medical assistance to airlift the Governor to Hawaii.

I am very happy and relieved that the Governor has been transported to Tripler in Hawaii. Many concerned individuals have called me to say that if anything goes wrong on island I will take the blame. Well, you know I don’t want to be blamed.

We are fortunate that this C-17 aircraft used for the medevac is based at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu. The aircraft is like a mini-hospital with medical equipment and medical personnel.

So, I wish to thank all of the people of Tutuila and Manu’a for keeping Governor Togiola in your prayers. This is a Christian community and I ask you to continue praying for our leader and wish him well. With God’s love and guidance, we hope for Governor Togiola’s safe return to the Territory on January 31st.

Thank you for your support. May God bless you. And God bless American Samoa.”