EWA BEACH (KHNL) - It's another sign of rocky economic times. The weakening economy has given way to more layoffs in Hawaii.
This time, it's the health care industry. Announced Friday afternoon, 80 employees have been laid off from St. Francis Medical Center, both east and west locations on Oahu.
Hawaii Medical Center West is the primary hospital for folks on the leeward coast. It has 102 hospital beds, but starting next week, fewer employees to take care of patients. The hospital administration is letting go of dozens of employees.
"It's terrible. I feel sorry that has to happen," said Raven Miranda, a hospital patient. "I don't know the circumstances or anything but no one likes to get laid off from their job especially in this industry. Everyone works so hard."
"I think it is very unfortunate that we have a lot more people being laid off," added Jonnae Taiafi, another hospital patient. "I mean, it is the only hospital here on our side. It does help for us who are from Waipahu, Ewa Beach, which accounts for a lot of people on our side."
Patients are worried what this may mean for health care on the leeward coast.
"And to have one of our hospitals in trouble, it is bad news for everyone and especially for those who are being laid off for their families and what they have to go through without a job," said Taiafi.
And they're hoping this isn't a sign of further difficult times ahead.
"It's worrisome, but I just hope for the best," said Miranda. "That's all I can do."
Hoping the economy picks up to resuscitate the health care industry.
Hospital officials say they've agonized over this and this was a tough decision to make. They're still determining which employees will be laid off, and they'll do that in the next few days.