Kim hospitalized after sixth heart attack

  • Mayor Harry Kim

Mayor Harry Kim was recovering in the hospital Monday after suffering another heart attack during the weekend.

According to Kim’s office, the mayor was taken to Hilo Medical Center early Saturday morning after sustaining a “mild” heart attack. After operations, Kim was recuperating and resting in the hospital by Monday.

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“He’s doing OK,” said county Managing Director Wil Okabe, who is serving as acting mayor until Kim sufficiently recovers.

Okabe said there is no definite date for when Kim will be well enough to work again, although he said he is “hoping for a speedy recovery.”

This was Kim’s sixth heart attack, little more than a month after his fifth heart attack hospitalized him in April. Kim returned to work just four days after that attack, following a heart procedure. Later that week, on May 3, the Kilauea eruption in Leilani Estates began.

Since then, Kim has returned to the hospital on multiple occasions. In mid-May, Kim was diagnosed with walking pneumonia and began taking medication. On Friday, Kim was hospitalized yet again for a pneumonia relapse, after which Okabe said only 20 percent of Kim’s heart is functioning.

One day later, Kim suffered his sixth heart attack.

“I’m very confident that the people at the hospital can give the best care possible for our mayor,” Okabe said. “Like Arnold (Schwarzenegger) said, he’ll be back.”

“The doctor told me I can’t leave because he doesn’t trust me to rest,” Kim was reported saying. “I’d fire him if I could.”

Kim has taken a hands-on role addressing the Puna eruption. On Thursday, two days before his most recent heart attack, Kim was working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on preparations for the agency’s Disaster Recovery Center at Keaau High School.

Although the eruption now appears to be settling into a stable pattern, Okabe could not say that Kim would slow down his work for the sake of his health.

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“He’s a very hands-on mayor,” Okabe said. “That’s just Harry Kim.”

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com