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Mothers accuse pediatrician of crossing the line

It all started with a text thread online. Now more women are coming forward, claiming a Big Island pediatrician went too far.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 1:29 PM EDT
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow/Gray News) – Several mothers have said their children’s doctor in Hawaii has tried establishing an inappropriate relationship with them.

They were all single moms at the time, and they say he crossed the line.

“He’s literally picking on vulnerable women, and it’s not OK,” Aila Umiamaka told Hawaii News Now.

After her daughter’s doctor’s appointment last Tuesday, Umiamaka — a single mom of two — said she received text messages from her daughter’s pediatrician.

He told her it “seems like she could use a friend” and if she’s interested, he could help.

The doctor then appeared to offer her money and texted the following, “Oh, we can match because I have money and you need money, laugh out loud.”

Umiamaka was offended by the text and took it as an insult.

“To me, that wasn’t harmless,” Umiamaka said. “That’s just him preying on me over my disadvantage.”

Umiamaka posted the conversation online and others reached out with similar stories.

“The first thing he made a point of saying was, like, how great I look, how great my figure was, and his tone and body language was like, he was looking me up and down,” Keakealani Iona said. “It was really uncomfortable.”

Kevi Ann Andrade said the doctor “started making remarks such as, ‘Well, if you’re not seeing anybody, maybe we should go out on a date.’”

Other moms said this has been going on as far back as 2014.

Gethsemane Reissig said the doctor offered her his house when she was 19 and living in a domestic violence shelter.

“I went for a doctor visit, he started asking me if I wanted to come stay with him, he had a big house and it was empty,” she said. “His daughter moved out and he wanted me to come stay there with my kids.”

Reissig said he complimented her, which made her feel uncomfortable.

The clinic where the doctor works said they’re aware of the allegations and are conducting an internal investigation.

Professor Will Weinstein, who teaches ethics courses at the University of Hawaii, said the doctor’s alleged actions aren’t acceptable.

“Most ethical issues are gray, this one’s black and white,” Weinstein said. “There’s no possibility that this is in any way ethical. And by the way, I think it’s not legal and the AMA, American Medical Association, strictly forbids things like this.”

Weinstein said if you think a doctor has crossed the line, you should reach out to an attorney.

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