A new West Oahu hospital opened it's doors Tuesday and that had lots of patients and EMS workers breathing a sigh of relief.
People who need to get to the hospital from West Oahu can now save precious time. The Queen's Medical Center in Ewa officially opened for patients Tuesday morning at 8:00. At 8:01, it received its first emergency call. By noon, the hospital already had more than 40 patients in the emergency room and dozens more in other areas.
"A lot of people booked in advance and those are outpatient services. They wanted to wait because it was far more convenient and the rest came urgently or emergently through the emergency department," said Susan Murray, C.O.O of The Queen's Medical Center West Oahu.
Murray tells us about 450 employees were on staff Tuesday and so far everything is going as planned.
"In health care you're prepared for whatever is a glitch or a minor setback. You always have a work around," said Murray.
The new hospital is located in a building that used to be the old Hawaii Medical Center which shut down just over two-years ago. The nearest emergency room since then was the Pali Momi Medical Center in Aiea, some eight-miles up the road. It's employee's stepped up and picked up the slack during those 875 days without help. A time some are calling a wild journey.
"Nothing I've ever been through in my last 33-years of being a nurse," said Jocelyn Granier, emergency room manager at the Pali Momi Medical Center.
On Tuesday, staffers at Pali Momi were treated to a lunch time celebration to reward their sacrifice. The hospital converted several areas to handle more E.R. patients, it even built a new care unit to open up more bed space. And while the work-load was intense -- employees say it was all worth it.
"Awesome, excited, relieved, just, it's a great day, we're all happy," said Granier.
Officials for the Queen's Medical Center West Oahu tells us they expect to grow the operation. It's still looking for staff, including nurses.