Kim returns to work after heart attack

  • Kim

Heart attack Thursday. Back at work Monday.

Mayor Harry Kim was at his desk Monday morning, looking fresh and rested, after undergoing evaluation and a heart procedure late last week. Kim, 78, drove himself to Hilo Memorial Center early Thursday after experiencing chest pains and pressure and was medevaced to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.


Kim said doctors told him he had a heart attack in Hilo, and possibly a second in Honolulu. Having had three heart attacks previously, Kim knows the signs and sought treatment promptly.

He had a triple bypass 10 years ago, Kim said. He said doctors told him the valves have about a 10-year lifespan.

One of the valves collapsed, Kim said, and the specialists were unsuccessful in their attempts to use stents to prop it open. He’s now on medication.

Kim checked out of the hospital Friday and spent the weekend in Honolulu with his wife, Bobbi.

“I know my body. I know what works,” Kim said. “I know what I have to do.”

The mayor said he doesn’t want to take medication, but he’ll continue the regimen on his doctor’s orders. He also plans to eat more than his previous one meal a day and get more rest.

Kim had been keeping a hectic schedule, starting with daily early morning briefings at Civil Defense and continuing through evening meetings most days. He’s been in office since December 2016, after serving two terms from 2000 to 2008.

Managing Director Wil Okable, who served as acting mayor in Kim’s absence, said he was somewhat surprised to see the mayor back so soon.

“What really impresses me is his dedication to the county,” Okabe said. “He’s driven to help the community.”


Okabe said he and the staff are doing their best to lighten Kim’s workload by taking on more duties.

“I’m going to do everything I can to help him,” Okabe said, “to take the load off.”

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