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Oahu Hospitals Rally To Fill Gap In Emergency Care

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Dec 20 2011 10:09:11 PM HST
Updated On: Dec 21 2011 07:55:57 AM HST
HONOLULU -

Governor Neil Abercrombie called for a meeting with healthcare providers to talk about the developing medical crisis.

The emergency room at Kuakini has seen a dramatic jump in cases over the last two days.

It is up 150 percent, according the Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

Staffers at the Liliha facility told KITV, the ambulances have been coming steadily and they are glad to help.

They said they feel for the emergency medical technicians who are under added pressure.

Toby Clairmont, Director of Emergency Services for the Healthcare Association said he was out at Hawaii Medical Center West when the ER closed Monday morning.

He said he wasn?t sure what to expect.

"We also saw heroic things in my opinion. EMS parked an ambulance and began screening patients themselves in some cases, and directing them to hospitals and in some cases taking them by ambulance to the hospitals. People were being served but not at the hospital," said Clairmont.

The short-term impacts and pre-hospital care are the most immediate concerns but the fate of patient at the specialty transplant center at HMC East and programs like the Hawaii Bone Marrow Registry are in limbo.

"Who is going to pick that up nobody knows at this point," Clairmont said.

He said the void of long relied on services will be felt throughout the community. It will boil down to this: Patients will have to travel farther for treatment.

"These are things we hear from neighbors in the Pacific. They come to Hawaii or go to the mainland for treatment, and now we will experience that ourselves locally," Clairmont said.

Clairmont also pointed out that part of his job is emergency response during a disaster and the shutdown creates a void, that is not good.

"Things could still happen. We depended on those facilities as part of our system. we have lost those staff and those beds," he said.

Clairmont said his own staff is on alert mode during this critical time,

Governor Neil Abercrombie called together heath care providers from the various hospitals Tuesday afternoon asking for a status report and wanting to know what the state could do to help.

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