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Queen's seeking approvals to create organ transplant program

By Kristen Consillio

LAST UPDATED: 10:16 a.m. HST, Dec 20, 2011

The Queen's Medical Center announced today that it has applied to create an organ transplant program in the wake of Hawaii Medical Center's announcement that it is shutting down its two hospitals.

HMC, which is closing the former St. Francis Medical Centers in Liliha and Ewa over the next few weeks, operates the only organ transplant center in the Pacific.

"The organ transplantation program, which was established by St. Francis Medical Center over four decades ago and is now operated by the Hawaii Medical Center, is a major and unique community asset," said Art Ushijima, Queen's president in a statement. "It is the only program of its kind in the state. Without it, hundreds of Hawaii residents will need to seek this service on the mainland. Queen's is very mindful of its importance and has taken steps to continue this vital program for the people of Hawaii."

Queen's said it is getting ready to hire staff for the center and is submitting an application to the United Network for Organ Sharing — the national organization for organ transplantation. It also is preparing an emergency certificate of need application for state approval.

The application process could take several months and Queen's will still need to build out space, hire staff and purchase equipment for an organ transplant facility. Queen's said it is requesting an expedited review and approval of its application to minimize the potential of any patients having to go to the mainland.

"We're going to try and expedite it as best as we can, but obviously it's a complicated process," said Cedric Yamanaka, a Queen's spokesman.

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