Feb. 24, 2008
Dr. Rodney Thomas West, 97, of Honolulu, a retired Straub Clinic & Hospital obstetrician and gynecologist and Navy commander and veteran, died in Kahala Nui Nursing Care Home. He was born in Wailuku. He is survived by children Jo-Anne W. Lewis, and Kenneth and Rodney Jr.; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Visitation: 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Unity Church, Diamond Head. Private burial. No flowers. Donations suggested to Punahou School (designated to student scholarships) or Foundation of the Rotary Club of Honolulu.
Our records show that Dr. Rodney T. West was Chief of Staff at Kapiolani Hospital in 1953. He was certified by the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1958 and practiced at The Straub Clinic and Hospital until his retirement in December 1977.Thank you for your interest.The Queens Medical CenterMamiya Medical Heritage Center
http://honoluluprepares.com/author.htmlCatherine West Dale says:My great uncle was Dr Rodney West, and he delivered me at Kapiolani Hospital on March 26, 1961, the same year Obama was born. That is a fact and it is on my birth certificate.
Catherine West Dale says:
I’ll ask my dad, he knows a lot more about his uncle than I do.
Also wanted to add that Dr Rodney T. West delivered my sister at Kapiolani Hospital in Mar 1964.
An Amazing Life Rodney T. West, MD, was born December 23, 1910, in Wailuku, Maui in the, then, Territory of Hawaii. He attended Honolulu Military Academy, graduated from Punahou School and then Northwestern University’s undergraduate and medical schools in Chicago, Illinois. In 1934, he returned to the Islands with his wife Mary Ann Carlisle of Vienna, Georgia, to complete internship and residency at Honolulu’s Queen’s Hospital. On November 1,1935, he joined Dr. R. W. Benz's general medical practice in one of the small houses on the property now occupied by the State Of Hawaii’s Capitol Building, During football seasons, he volunteered as team doctor for Punahou School, and by the summer of 1939 he had fathered his first two children, a daughter and a son.
In January of 1941, believing that war was inevitable and imminent, he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. Because he was not called into active duty until September 5, 1941, he became seriously involved in what was at first called “disaster preparations,” preparations that were, in the following year and a half, to be become extensive and unparalleled in U.S. history. During that interim, Dr. West worked in cooperation with the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Honolulu County Medical Society, the City and County Emergency Unit and the Queen’s Hospital, to assist in setting up a program that would see O`ahu prepared.
On December 7th, 1941, during the second wave of strafing and bombing by Japanese planes, he crossed the channel in an open whaleboat to report to duty at the Ford Island Dispensary. There he attended to hundreds of burned victims, and remained at the dispensary until Thursday, at which time he was finallly able to return to his Manoa home.
Following his tour of duty at Pearl Harbor, Dr. West served on Johnston Island in the Pacific, at Oahu’s Kaneohe Naval Air Station, (now KMCS), at Pensacola, Florida’s NAS where he received flight surgeon training, and at Key West, Florida’s NAS as chief medical officer. There his third child, a son, was born. After VJ Day, he returned to the NAS in Honolulu to receive his full commander’s rating and honorable discharge from active duty. He continued to serve in the Naval Reserves until September of 1949.
After his return to the Islands, Dr. West spent doctors who had not had a vacation for the duration of the war, and served on the Big Island as plantation doctor at Ola`a Sugar Plantation (Kea`au). In June of 1949 he was asked to join the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of The Clinic (now Straub Clinic & Hospital), and returned to Honolulu practice. Over the years, he delivered more than 5000 babies, usually at Kapi`olani Maternity Hospital, personallly chronicling their vital statistics in bound ledgers. Nearing the end of his practice, Dr. West took on the role of medical director, Straub Clinic’s first, before retiring at 65 years of age in December of 1975.
Throughout his lifetime, Dr. West served the medical community in many other ways: as Kapi`olani Hospital’s Chief of Staff for a number of years, as president of the Hawaii Medical Association in 1963, as liaison for the annual Pan Pacific Surgical conferences in Honolulu and finally in the founding of The American College of Physician Executives, becoming its first president. Today this organization has over 15,000 members.
Dr. West was also active in community affairs. In the 50's He was an active Kiwanian. In 1968, he joined The Rotary Club of Honolulu, believing strongly in Rotary International goal to advance world health and planetary peace. In May 2001 he was honored as one of the club's “living treasures.” Over the years, Dr. West played a key role on many boards, including the Better Business Bureau, the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, the Salvation Army, and the Unity Church of Hawaii.