Shriners Hospitals finishes first phase of multi-million dollar project - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Shriners Hospitals finishes first phase of multi-million dollar project

Ralph Semb Ralph Semb
Sophia Robinson and Jack Robinson Sophia Robinson and Jack Robinson
Papu Uti Papu Uti

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A hospital dedicated to helping Hawaii's kids gets a fresh makeover. Shriners Hospitals for Children completes its first phase of a multi-million dollar hospital construction project.

The hospital specializes in orthopaedic needs for children, which includes taking care of broken bones, and treating diseases like scoliosis and clubfoot. So with the first phase now completed, the hospital is ready to help even more kids.

Danny Kaleikini performs a traditional Hawaiian blessing to welcome the completion of the first phase of Shriners Hospitals' construction project. This $73-million dollar endeavor was built on more than just funds and donations.

"The love you see in their eyes as they help the kids sing the songs to us, you can see they're not doing this as employment," said Douglas Maxwell, Shriners Hospitals for Children's chairman of the board. "This is a passion."

"Shriners bring love to the children because we care and want to make sure they do have a full life," said Ralph Semb, Shriners Hospitals for Children's chairman of the board of trustees.

The hospital treats children with orthopaedic needs, not only in Hawaii, but throughout the Pacific, including Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

"As a parent of a child with special needs, it's very fulfilling and satisfying that people care that much about the children," said Jack Robinson, whose daughter Sophia is a patient.

Shriners' newly completed section incorporates modern medical technology, and injects some innovative tools.

And the hospital has one of the largest operating rooms in the state. Hi-tech cameras magnify the surgery and they're shown on these monitors and the surgery can be transmitted to other hospitals live to serve as a teaching tool.

Papu Uti, a 15-year-old patient from Waianae, has benefited from all this. He's had 15 surgeries here, after suffering a football injury in April.

"When I came here that first day, it was like the snap of my finger. I love them; they love me," he said. "Anything I always wanted to have more than just one big family and now I have a whole family, all over the island."

Uti goes home Friday, but he says Shriners Hospitals will always be a part of him, right in his heart.

"I'm really thankful to God for building and making people love us so much to make this beautiful hospital," he said.

The hospital performs more than 550 surgeries a year, and as the hospital expands, they hope to do much more. The main hospital will open in July, and the second phase should be completed by June 2010.

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