Kahuku clinic pair help aid school's athletic director

Left to right: Kahuku High School Vice-Principal Patricia Macadangdang, Athletic Director Gillian D.R. Yamagata, and Athletic Consultant Brandy Burke.

A dentist and dental assistant staffing the health clinic at Kahuku High School Wednesday morning performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the school’s athletic director after she reportedly went into cardiac arrest and crashed her car in the school parking lot.

Athletic Director Gillian Yamagata reportedly lost consciousness as her car slowly traveled into the parking lot, collided with another car and plowed through a fence at the school. She was taken in critical condition to a hospital, according to city Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright.

Dr. Don Sand, dentist and director of the dental department at the Ko‘olauloa Health Center, which runs Kahuku’s Red Raider Health Center, called the pair — Dr. Joe Mayer, a dentist, and dental assistant Josie Maiava — heroes.

Mayer said in response: “Just as raising a child takes a village, the same is true in medical emergencies. From the person who ran into the medical clinic to the person who broke the window out and climbed in and unlocked the doors … to the person who dialed 911 that got the paramedics there, there’s so much credit to go around.”

Mayer said a large man, roughly 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-4, found a coconut, “told me to get out of the way, which I obliged, and he hurled that thing through the back window and shattered it.”

“Other people were starting to knock out more of the glass,” said Mayer, who was concerned that the man might cut himself because “he was a big guy, but he was determined.”

He said the fire station is just a few hundred feet away, and the Fire Department responded quickly.

Enright said paramedics arrived at the school at 8:35 a.m. and treated a 57-year-old woman, who had gone into cardiac arrest. Enright said the woman apparently experienced a medical emergency, had her foot on the gas and crashed into another car.

She said bystanders had begun CPR when paramedics arrived.

“It’s because they started CPR so early, they gave her a chance,” Enright said. “They dramatically increased her chance of survival.”

Responding firefighters used a portable defibrillator to treat the woman, she said.

Mayer said the state Board of Medical Examiners requires dentists and dental assistants to be CPR-certified, not just go through training.

“The more people who know CPR, the better the chances are of surviving,” he said. “If you get there within four minutes, you can move oxygen to the brain.”

Mayer visited Yamagata Wednesday night at Wahiawa General Hospital, but declined to say how she was doing.

“We won’t know that until 48 hours from now,” he said.


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