Sometimes You Can’t Do Anything Right

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Filed under: Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

Hospital horse visit ‘well-intended'
by Nathan Eagle
The Garden Island
March 21, 2008

horse-beach-200.jpgA reportedly intoxicated man recently trotted a horse into the lobby at Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Lihu‘e with a single mission in mind - cheering up his ailing family member, an official said yesterday.

The unidentified dude picked up the phone and told the operator, "I'm coming up to see a relative," Wilcox Hospital spokeswoman Lani Yukimura said.

The "well-intended" individual and his steed then took an elevator up three levels to a nursing floor, she said, where security greeted them.

The patient was brought out to see the stallion, Yukimura said, but told his allegedly intoxicated relative, "That's not my horse."

Security then "calmly and peaceably" got the rider back on his bronco and out of the hospital, Yukimura said, with "just a few scuff marks."

Staff reported the incident, which happened "a few weeks ago," to the Health Department.

Yukimura was unable to provide further details, such as the equestrian's name or a description of the horse. An unauthorized photo of the episode also could not be released.

Hospital policy disallows news photographers from taking photos on hospital property without an escort and the hospital declined to provide an escort to see where the visit took place.

"On Kaua‘i, we have a very warm inviting atmosphere at Wilcox," Yukimura said. "We just hope people understand this is not a place for a horse."

Or, at times, a news photographer.

She said the incident was a first at the 70-year-old hospital, which is located in the metropolitan heart of the mostly rural island.

"We wish this incident had not happened," Yukimura said. "It's one of those things you never expect to happen and when they do, although it sounds funny, it's something we take seriously."

Hospital policy only allows authorized animals, such as service dogs or cats.

"Research shows companionship of a pet can help patients recover more quickly, but a hospital is still not a place for a horse," Yukimura said. "Our priority is our patients, staff and visitors and our commitment to make sure that the safety of those people is not compromised."

There were no injuries or damage in the incident, she added.

photo: Jade’s Public Gallery