Walter R. Woodruff physician assistant and medical administrator for the Midway Atoll Medical Clinic would be willing to visit medical facilities in the Philippines. “I have been impressed with the credentials of the providers [at the symposium] and the training that they’ve had and I would not feel uncomfortable about going there for a procedure myself.”

He decided to participate in the symposium to gain more knowledge about health care in Asia. “Most of our contract workers are brought in from Thailand. Every year they have to go back for vacation and they have to get a physical exam. They get it at the BumRungrad Hospital — a representative of that hospital is here.”

Woodruff and his colleague are responsible for medical care of the personnel on the island which he said are “Fish and Wildlife folks the contracting personnel and Fish and Wildlife volunteers. If we have any maritime vessels that declare a medical emergency the Joint Rescue Coordination Center out of Hawaii will contact us and tell us that we have a vessel coming our way ” he told the Journal. Woodruff said there have been six maritime emergencies during the 12 months he has worked at Midway Atoll.

Midway Atoll is part of the Hawaiian island chain. Midway was a U.S. Naval facility up until the mid-1990s when the Navy turned over the island to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The island has since become a wildlife refuge under the U. S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services. “Midway is one of the largest nesting areas for Laysan Albatross; there’s over a million birds on Midway. It’s an atoll made up of three small islands and only one island — Sand Island — is inhabited by people ” Woodruff said.

There are about 40 people who work on Midway Atoll. He said “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has about eight wildlife biologists there and they do studies on the birds and seals and they are also responsible for bringing in people to manage the runway that’s there. The runway on Midway is the emergency landing runway for transpacific flights should they develop any engine problems.” According to Woodruff a mass casualty plan is mandated to handle the possibility of a plane crash but there are only two medical personnel on the atoll.

Chugach McKinley Inc. the services contractor for Midway is a division of the Chugach Alaska Corp. In 1971 the U.S. Congress set up a new policy by enacting the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Rather than creating a reservation system in Alaska a corporate ownership system of assets was developed through the ANCSA to ensure financial independence for Native Alaskans. The Chugach Alaska Corp. is a product of that 1971 policy.

Woodruff said “They provide people for generation of electricity at the power plant people at the water plant people to manage the airport firefighters carpenters refrigeration specialists and cooks. Only a few of the Naval facilities or buildings are maintained and the rest are just left to their own.”

Medcore Woodruff’s employer is a subcontractor working with Chugach McKinley. MBJ