Think About It: No Emergency Room - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

March 22, 2012

Think About It: No Emergency Room

The dire situation caused by the closing of the Hawaii Medical Center hospitals three months ago was undoubtedly going to have a ripple effect throughout our health community, and the repercussions are being felt in numerous ways. As various suitors weigh their options regarding bringing one or both of the locations back from the darkness, the Queen's Medical Center has thankfully begun its new transplant program, which is a huge relief for those in need locally.

And then there's the emergency room situation. Without a centrally-located site in the Ewa/Kapolei area, daily and nightly emergency cases are being shifted to other hospitals all around Oahu. Determinations are quickly made about critical care cases vs. those that can wait. And dispatchers are becoming more like air traffic controllers during a weather crisis, carefully manipulating planes around to ensure everyone is handled safely. Re-routing of ambulances has occurred numerous times, based on population counts in emergency rooms and waiting room lines at over-crowded facilities when the calls come in. People need to look for urgent care facilities except in critical circumstances.

The best solution would be for an entity to quickly work out the economics of adding the Hawaii Medical Center in Ewa and/or in Kalihi to its portfolio, as the state looks to add ambulatory help for central and west Oahu in the meantime. At the same time, we need more long-term care facilities in our state. As our population keeps aging, more acute and long-term care is going to become an inevitability that will really put pressure on the system. But first things first- our medical community needs a shot in the arm, which will occur when one or both of these Hawaii Medical Center dormant facilities is re-opened. Think about it…

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