HONOLULU (KHON2) — An Oahu clinic for those who may be experiencing symptoms of jet fuel exposure took its first patients on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Some said getting into the new Red Hill Clinic was not easy, KHON2 spoke to a local mom who called it a rough experience.
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The Red Hill Clinic started taking appointments on Tuesday, Dec. 27. Ford Island mom Bel Miles told KHON2 about her experience when she called the 24-hour TRICARE information line.
Miles was transferred to another call-taker at least five times and spent two hours going over her kids symptoms in the past year. She finally lined up an appointment from 8 to 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Miles said the Makalama Naval Health Clinic was broken down into colored sections with red, blue and gold areas.
“They pretty much just took like the blue team area and just renamed it Red Hill Clinic,” Miles said, “and so it wasn’t any flashy signs, it was really just one piece of paper that had ‘Red Hill Clinic,’ and the times that they would be seeing people.”
“The rooms were darkened, a few doors were opened, they led us to a room that was very small,” Miles said.
Miles’ son and daughter both have skin rashes — treatable at the clinic — but officially the cause is unknown and she is not feeling any urgency.
“She did tell us that the clinic only had certain services, which was gastrointestinal services and dermatology. But anything else would need to be, we would be sent with referrals to Tripler,” Miles said. “All the doctors at Tripler that were treating symptoms, but not the actual for jet-fuel-in-the-water kind of seriousness.”
Army Maj. Amanda Feindt shared a similar feeling. Feindt moved from Ford Island to Colorado in May, 2022 to seek better medical care but she still advocates for clean water on the Islands.
“I’m doing it because I have risked my life for this country for our basic human rights. One of them being access to clean water. Oahu, Hawaii, that Navy drinking water line is no safer than the combat zone that I served in Afghanistan,” Feindt said.
She pointed to North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune and said unlike the cancer patients there, it is not too late for locals on the Navy water system.
“We have an opportunity to, to intervene, to save people’s lives. To actually give them proper medical care so we’re not burying our children before the age of 10 like many of Camp Lejeune families were,” Feindt said.
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KHON2 reached out to and is waiting for a response from TRICARE and the Navy for comment and an updated timeline on the report of the toxic spill in December 2022.