EWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of West Oahu residents went to the hospital today, but it was to take in a preview of a new facility that takes the place of Hawaii Medical Center West.
Queen's Medical Center West Oahu welcomed them as it held an open house just days before the hospital opens for business.
Mindy Willers is an Ewa Beach resident who did a clinical rotation in the building back when it was St. Francis Medical Center West, some seven years ago.
"Everything is state of the art. It's beautiful," she said. "I know the people that are trained to work here know their stuff. So anybody on the west side of the island are going to be well taken care of when they come here."
It's not only residents who've waited for the reopening. So have paramedics, who've had to take emergency patients to Aiea's Pali Momi Medical Center, or other hospitals that aren't close by.
"The patient overload has been overwhelming, and it will be nice Tuesday when we can have a closer hospital for shorter transports and make ourselves more available to the community," said paramedic Shirley Ann Cazinha.
While the public took in tours, a health fair and entertainment, workers were still visible, putting the final touches on more than $70 million worth of upgrades and renovations.
"Many people were worried about the quality of health care that we would have now in the district," said state Sen. Will Espero (D-Ewa Beach). "But with Queen's Medical Center stepping up to the plate, they have reopened a wonderful institution here."
Queen's said it wants to show that the new facility should be considered to be West Oahu's "community hospital."
"This facility, Queen's Medical Center West Oahu, is here for this region. And that will be our focus now in going forward," said Susan Murray, the hospital's chief operations officer.
The hospital will officially open for business May 20 at 8 a.m.
Previous story: Queen's investing $73M to acquire Hawaii Medical Center West