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City beefs up Leeward ambulance service to prepare for closures

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Ambulance service in Leeward Oahu has been beefed up in response to the announced closures of Hawaii Medical Center East and West, Mayor Peter Carlisle said today.

The city Emergency Medical Services Division already had ambulance units in Waianae, Makakilo and Waipahu and a unit in Nanakuli that was on duty 16 hours a day.

To increase the emergency response capabilities for the Leeward Coast, Carlisle said, two additional EMS ambulance units were placed in service and the existing unit at Nanakuli has been expanded to 24-hour coverage.

The Hawaii Medical Center notified the city Friday that neither of its hospitals would accept any patients by ambulance and could close their emergency rooms within days. Hawaii Medical Center West, in Ewa, is the closest major hospital to the Waianae Coast.

A statement from the city said Carlisle and the Emergency Services Department “continue to closely monitor the consequences of the announced closures of the Hawaii Medical Center East and West.” 

EMS received more than 40 calls for emergencies from the Leeward Coast from midnight to noon today, the city said. The additional units, the city said, “have ensured an adequate emergency medical response.”

EMS ambulance units from Leeward and Central Oahu had been using Wahiawa General Hospital and Pali Momi Medical Center in Aiea since Friday afternoon. However, those hospitals have maximized their capacity and are now on ambulance reroute or divert status.

EMS ambulances on the Leeward Coast are utilizing Kaiser Medical Center, Tripler Army Medical Center and the downtown hospitals until the others are no longer on divert status.


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