Connect with us

Hawaii

A woman whose husband died snorkeling in Hawaii is suing its tourism board, saying it failed to warn them of the risk

Published

on

A woman whose husband died snorkeling in Hawaii is suing its tourism board, saying it failed to warn them of the risk


A Michigan woman and her adult children are suing a Maui resort and Hawaiian tourism bodies after her husband’s death, claiming they failed to warn him of the potential risks of snorkeling.

According to the lawsuit, the family is seeking an unspecified amount of damages and a trial by jury.

Patricia and Ray Johnson arrived at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui on February 23, 2022, marking the couple’s sixth visit to Hawaii.

Two days later, Ray, 64, and other vacationers snorkeled around Wailea Beach, situated in front of the hotel resort. While walking on a trail adjacent to the beach, Patricia told USA TODAY that she saw other snorkelers helping her husband.

Advertisement

She told the news outlet that she rushed to the beach, where “things deteriorated quickly,” and despite calling 911, medical professionals were unable to revive her husband.

Although the autopsy attributed Ray Johnson’s death to accidental drowning, Patricia Johnson and her family contest this.

In the lawsuit, which was reviewed by Business Insider, the Johnson family argues that ROPE — Rapid Onset Pulmonary Edema —likely led to Ray Johnson’s passing.

ROPE is a sudden-onset condition characterized by the accumulation of fluid in the lungs’ air sacs, which can make breathing difficult, according to the Mayo Clinic.

A July 2010 Snorkel Safety Study, conducted in collaboration with the Hawaii State Department of Health and the Hawaii Tourism Authority, distinguishes drowning by ROPE from drowning by aspirating water.

Advertisement

It said ROPE does not necessarily need “submersion in or inhalation of liquid” and often looks different from drowning by aspiration.

The study said drowning by ROPE often involves shortness of breath, confusion, and unconsciousness, with an absence of a visible struggle.

Patricia Johnson told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that Ray had kept his head above water before appearing disorientated.

“It didn’t make sense. When I got the autopsy report, it said drowning. I watched Ray come in,” Patricia Johnson told KITV. “When you are drowning, you are not talking to the people around you.”

According to the lawsuit, Ray Johnson eventually lost consciousness before reaching the shore.

Advertisement

The lawsuit cites the Snorkel Safety Study and accuses the defendants — the Fairmont Kea Lani, the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau — of negligence for failing to adequately warn tourists about the risks of ROPE when snorkeling.

The lawsuit said the defendants have “essentially ignored the Study, its conclusions about the risks to tourist safety, and especially its recommended warnings.”

The study noted that several factors can contribute to ROPE, including snorkel resistance and underlying heart and lung diseases.

While acknowledging Ray’s history of cardiac issues, the lawsuit said that he had not been advised by a doctor to refrain from physical activity.

The lawsuit also said that Ray wasn’t aware that he should wait a few days after flying to snorkel: “Had he received the warnings crafted by the Study authors, he would have heeded them.”

Advertisement

While the Snorkel Safety Study acknowledged the plausibility of air travel as a contributing factor to ROPE, it noted that it remains only a hypothesis.

The Johnson family’s attorney, Jay Stuemke, told Business Insider by email that: “Since the tourism industry refuses to do the right thing and warn incoming tourists of these hazards, it is incumbent upon us to do so.”

He added: “If even one life is saved by this message, then Ray Johnson will not have died in vain.”

Speaking to USA TODAY, Patricia Johnson said she hoped the lawsuit would lead to more warnings. “I truly believe my husband would still be here if we’d been warned,” she said. 

The Fairmont Kea Lani and Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while the Hawaiian Tourism Authority declined to comment on litigation.

Advertisement



Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hawaii

Schatz, Tokuda seek higher payments for physicians – West Hawaii Today

Published

on

Schatz, Tokuda seek higher payments for physicians – West Hawaii Today


U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, alongside Hawaii’s congressional delegation, on Thursday introduced legislation seeking higher Medicare reimbursements for the state’s health care providers.

The Protecting Access To Care in Hawaii Act — or PATCH Act — seeks a 24% increase, which would bring it in line with what Alaska gets, according to Schatz. He said it is key to helping the state retain and recruit doctors for a growing number of seniors.

The timing is more urgent than ever, he added, as Hawaii faces an increasingly acute provider shortage, especially on neighbor islands.

“As more people reach Medicare age in Hawaii, we are seeing fewer health care providers because of the rising operating and living costs in our state,” said Schatz. “Our bill would help fix that, boosting Medicare payments to providers and protecting health care access for the 300,000 seniors in Hawaii that rely on Medicare.”

Advertisement

It is also a matter of fairness, according to Schatz.

Currently, Medicare physician payments per beneficiary in Hawaii are the lowest in the U.S, and reimbursement rates do not factor in Hawaii’s higher health care operating costs due to its geographic isolation.

The bill would revise a “work geographic index” to reflect those higher costs, and is basically seeking the same level of reimbursements as Alaska.

“In lots of other areas of federal reimbursement, there’s a recognition that Hawaii and Alaska are in a category of their own as it relates to costs that would better reflect our reality,” said Schatz.

U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda, who introduced the companion House bill, said Hawaii consistently ranks among the healthiest states in the U.S., yet remains one of the worst states in which to practice medicine because of lower compensation and higher operating costs.

Advertisement

“Especially on our Neighbor Islands, this is exacerbating the access to the health care crisis that exists, often making it difficult to recruit and retain physicians and to get patients the timely quality care they need,” Tokuda said in a statement. “My legislation would ensure Medicare reimbursements more accurately reflect the real cost to provide care in Hawaii so that we can keep more local doctors and attract new physicians to the state.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said the low physician reimbursements in Hawaii add another obstacle to accessing and providing health care.

“I’m proud to support this legislation to help ensure that our physicians — and other health professionals — are being fairly compensated, while also expanding access to health care across the state,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Ed Case said medical practitioners have struggled for years to provide quality care while dealing with the mounting cost of doing business in Hawaii.

“This bill will help our health care providers focus on providing care through Medicare and spend less time worrying about inadequate reimbursement,” he said.

Advertisement

Earlier this year, Sens. Schatz and Hirono also introduced a bill alongside their Alaska colleagues, seeking higher Medicare reimbursements for outpatient care from hospitals, including emergency room visits, for enrolled seniors in the two states.

In 2021, they also sought to boost Medicare reimbursements for nursing homes in Hawaii and Alaska through the bipartisan Equitable Payments for Nursing Facilities Act.

Those bills are still pending.

Hawaii has a shortage of about 800 full-time physicians, according to the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Other efforts to address the doctor shortage include an educational loan reimbursement program for health care workers that commit to two years of service in Hawaii. The state Legislature also passed a bill this year exempting private health care providers from general excise taxes for services to patients with Medicaid, Medicare and TRICARE.

Advertisement

“Everything costs more in Hawaii,” said Schatz, “and so the federal reimbursement has to reflect that, and that should go for nursing home care and Medicare services in clinics. We just have to be on an equal footing. Otherwise, we will have Medicare but really Medicare in name only because Medicare without providers is really nothing.”





Source link

Continue Reading

Hawaii

Pleasant Holidays launches Hawaii free-night deal

Published

on

Pleasant Holidays launches Hawaii free-night deal


Pleasant Holidays launched a new offer for Hawaii this summer. It features a free fourth, fifth or sixth night at 21 hotels and resorts in Hawaii.

“A Hawaii vacation is the perfect summer getaway for families, couples and extended-family gatherings in a tropical paradise, and these free-night offers are at some of our best-selling five-star resorts, among many others. These include Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort; Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko’Olina,” said Pleasant Holidays CEO Jack Richards in a news release.

The offer is valid for new bookings and certain restrictions and blackout dates may apply. Travel advisors can visit pleasantagent.com or call 1-800-448-3333 for more information. 



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Hawaii

Ranked: 10 Best Beaches In America In 2024, According To Dr. Beach

Published

on

Ranked: 10 Best Beaches In America In 2024, According To Dr. Beach


With summer just around the corner, beach lovers are eager to find the best sandy spots in the U.S. The person with the answers: Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach.

Every year, Leatherman ranks the top U.S. beaches along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. He uses 50 criteria scored on a five-point scale, including sand softness, number of sunny days, cleanliness, and more.

A geoscientist and coastal ecologist, Leatherman earned his nickname while teaching a course on waves and beaches at the University of Maryland. His students began calling him “Dr. Beach.”

This year, Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Hawaii has been named the number one beach in the United States in Dr. Beach’s annual Best Beaches awards, published just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

Advertisement

What Leatherman loves about Duke Kahanamoku Beach: “It has the finest white coral sand and clear water, with the iconic Diamondhead volcano in the distance,” he said in a statement. “Its location at the west end of Waikiki Beach means it’s far from the large crowds, making it the widest beach on this world-famous stretch of sand.”

The winning beach is protected by an offshore coral reef, which makes it an ideal spot for families with children. The nearby Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is also a favorite for bathing and swimming. “Hawaii’s smoking ban on all beaches enhances public health and protects marine life, earning extra points in my ranking,” said Leatherman.

Advertisement

Unfortunately, North Carolina’s Lighthouse Beach, a long-time favorite, is absent from this year’s list due to severe erosion and environmental contamination from an old U.S. Navy submarine spy station revealed by coastal storms. “Lighthouse Beach is an erosion hotspot and currently caught in an environmental and bureaucratic mess,” said Leatherman.

From Hawaii to Florida, here are Dr. Beach’s 10 best beaches for 2024.

1. Duke Kahanamoku Beach – Oahu, Hawaii

Why it made the list: “Kahanamoku Beach is located on the west end of Waikiki Beach, far from the large crowds elsewhere,” says Leatherman. “It is the widest beach on this world-famous stretch of sand and protected by an offshore coral reef, making it a good beach for families with children.”

Advertisement

A tip: Check out the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, which is protected by an offshore coral reef—“ideal for families with children,” says Leatherman. The iconic Diamond Head volcano adds to its picturesque beauty.

2. Coopers Beach – Southampton, New York

Why it made the list: “Coopers Beach is located on the south shore of Long Island, shielded from the cold Labrador currents in the beautiful village of Southampton,” says Leatherman. “This first Gold Coast in the country is hundreds of yards wide, made of grainy white quartz sand, and backed by large sand dunes and extravagant mansions.”

A tip: “Some of the best beach access in the Hamptons exists on Coopers Beach; a snack bar serving lunch and drinks can be found here as well,” says Leatherman.

Advertisement

3. Wailea Beach – Maui, Hawaii

Why it made the list: “Wailea Beach is a series of five pocket beaches that are part of the Wailea resort complex, which provides public right-of-way for visitors,” says Leatherman. “The white coral sand beach gently slopes offshore and is great for snorkeling when the ocean is calm.”

A tip: “The beautifully landscaped park, adorned with tropical vegetation and flowering bushes and trees, makes this beach even more special,” says Leatherman.

4. Caladesi Island State Park – Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida

Why it made the list: “Caladesi is accessed via pedestrian ferry boat, private boats, or a long walk north from Clearwater Beach,” says Leatherman. “The white beach, composed of crystalline quartz sand, is soft and cushy at the water’s edge, inviting one to take a dip in the sparkling clear waters.”

A tip: “Leatherman recommends taking a kayak or canoe trip through the mangroves to see large blue herons and other birds that frequent this wonderful natural area.”

5. Beachwalker Park – Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Why it made the list: “Beachwalker Park is the public beach on the southern end of Kiawah Island, a nature-lovers coast where visitors can bring their canoes and kayaks to paddle through the tidal inlets,” says Leatherman.

A tip: “It’s fun to walk or bicycle down the fine-grained sand beach to Captain Sam’s Inlet to see thousands of birds,” says Leatherman. “The water isn’t clear, but it is clean and provides fantastic seafood.”

6. Main Beach – East Hampton, New York

Why it made the list: “Main Beach blends nature and built environment perfectly,” says Leatherman. “Wealthy summertime residents flock to the beaches protected by a conservation easement dating back over 300 years.”

Advertisement

A tip: “Main Beach is great for star-spotting as many actors and actresses visit for its peaceful, countryside setting,” says Leatherman. “The best way to get around is by bicycling to avoid parking issues.”

7. Poipu Beach – Kauai, Hawaii

Why it made the list: “Located on the sunny, dry side of this island, Poipu Beach is actually two beaches in one,” says Leatherman. “A tombolo, a narrow sand spit, separates the two pocket beaches, with the offshore island knocking down the big waves.”

A tip: “Small waves break gently on the shallow sandbar, creating a fun area for children to play,” says Leatherman. “As you move along the crescent-shaped beach, the waves vary in size.”

Advertisement

8. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park – Naples, Florida

Why it made the list: “This barrier island beach boasts beautiful white sand beaches and crystal-clear Gulf waters,” says Leatherman. “Activities include swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, shelling and fishing.”

A tip: “Pine trees provide welcome shade,” says Leatherman. “The park is still recovering from Hurricane Ian in 2022, so some areas remain closed.”

9. Coast Guard Beach – Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Why it made the list: “Accessible by bicycle from the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center or shuttle bus, Coast Guard Beach offers a spectacular view of the Nauset Spit barrier system and bay,” says Leatherman. “The picturesque old Coast Guard station still sits atop the glacial bluffs.”

A tip: “During the summer, beachgoers take quick, refreshing dips in the ocean as the water is chilly,” says Leatherman. “Always swim near a lifeguard and heed the red flags with shark images if present.”

10. Coronado Beach – San Diego, California

Why it made the list: “Coronado Beach is the toast of Southern California with its unique Mediterranean climate and fine sparkling sands containing mica,” says Leatherman. “The local landmark Hotel del Coronado has hosted kings, sheiks and celebrities for over a hundred years.”

A tip: “The beach is great for ship-watching and summer’s warm and mild surf,” says Leatherman. “Check online for water quality before swimming and surfing.”

MORE FROM FORBES

Forbes13 Exciting Places Where You Can Live For $1,500 A Month-Or LessForbesThe World’s 15 Safest Cities (2 U.S. Cities Made The List), Ranked In A New Report



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending