About the Leprosy Patients of Molokai.
Looking through H. M. Whitney’s newspaper [Pacific Commercial Advertiser? Nupepa Kuokoa?], of these past weeks, we came upon Dr. Bikinika [?]’s letter stating that he went to tour the Leprosy Hospital in Kalaupapa, and witnessed the plight of the leprosy patients—the lack of doctors and the lack of other living necessities. Later, we saw another letter in the same paper confirming the many difficulties of the patients in Kalaupapa. We did not imagine we’d see another letter, by R. W. Meyer of Molokai, speaking about things relating to the patients, and saying that there indeed was a crate of beef on the street, adding, “The beef was spoiled, but it was no more spoiled than what they eat, so it is fine for them.”
And in the Au Okoa of this past Monday, we again saw talk of the leprosy patients, as follows: “We are always facing many difficulties these days; there are problems with sickness, food (‘ai and i‘a), and clothing; we are troubled because we have no medical care—do not imagine that there is a life for us, for that is not at all the case, not at all.” And it is perhaps because of this statement above that the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Hutchison went there to see the difficulties of those people.
After much consideration of these problems shown above, we are stirred to respond with the question, “Is is right for the Government to continue the Leprosy Hospital in Kalaupapa, Molokai?” We say, “No, it is definitely not right to totally separate the leprosy housing there, and instead, to set aside a place here on Oahu, someplace close to Doctors; and the cries of the patients for lack of food, clothing, and so forth, can be immediately looked at. Being that this is not an extremely contagious disease like smallpox, they should be returned to Oahu. It can only be spread by living together, eating together, sleeping together with one or more of the people who have leprosy.
(Kuokoa, 2/23/1867, p. 2)
Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke VI, Helu 8, Aoao 2. Feberuari 23, 1867.