Only Waianae ER May Close its Doors Nightly

Richard Bettini
Richard Bettini
Keola Rosario with his daughter, Sadie
Keola Rosario with his daughter, Sadie
Waianae Coast Comprehensive ER
Waianae Coast Comprehensive ER

(KHNL) -- The Waianae Coast Comprehensive emergency room is in need of a transplant, one consisting of cash.  Without it, cuts at an emergency room could cause pain for an entire community.

At the Waianae E-R , the staff is busy taking care of patients but the emergency room itself may soon be on life support because of a cut in funding from state lawmakers.

"There is $500,000 in the budget, but that is the final budget," says Waianae Comp spokesperson Maile Shimabukuro.

But it costs $100,000 a month to run the emergency room.

"If that's the case, we could stay open for 5 months," says Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center's CEO Richard Bettini.

A forced closure could turn into a deadly decision.

"The impact on patient care will be severe and there will be deaths if this E-R closes - deaths that could have been avoided," adds Bettini.

For residents of the Waianae coast the possibility of the E-R doors closing is a second dose of bad news. The other is the end of military patient tranports. And with the future of the helicopter help up in the air, many may be on their own in an emergency.

Right now, for Keola Rosario, help is just a short drive away for his young daughter Sadie.

"It's a comfort knowing that it is there. If anything did happen we do have the resources. Without this we gotta head to St. Francis West and by then it might be too late," says Rosario.

"Waianae Coast Comprehensive services the people who need it the most," says Shimabukuro.

But now this West Oahu lifeline is in danger itself.

Lawmakers say a floor amendment is expected to be introduced Tuesday that would add $500,000 for the health center, but that measure will still need to be voted on and passed.