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Wahiawa General Hospital forced to transfer patients after air condition breakdown

<i></i><br/>A broken air conditioning system shut down inpatient services for several days here at Wahiawa General Hospital
Lawrence, Nakia

A broken air conditioning system shut down inpatient services for several days here at Wahiawa General Hospital

By Kristen Consillio

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    WAHIAWA, Hawaii (KITV) — A broken air conditioning system shut down inpatient services for several days here at Wahiawa General Hospital, forcing patients to be transferred to other hospitals.

“We like many hospitals in the state also have significant facilities infrastructure issues,” said Brian Cunningham, CEO of Wahiawa General Hospital.

The almost 80-year-old hospital soon to be acquired by the Queen’s Health System “had a failure with our air handler unit. And in our attempts to come up with the parts and the fix and to do all that assessment, it became clear to us it would maybe be a few more weeks at that point. So we made the decision out of an abundance of care for our patients and our staff that we needed to call an internal disaster.”

More than half a dozen patients were discharged late last week and another eight transferred to other facilities.

The hospital initially thought it would take several weeks to fix the problem, but now is back in business.

“It is fragile and what it takes to make it through this kind of environment is a lot of people,” Cunningham said. “It’s truly a team effort.”

Wahiawa’s not the only one struggling with aging infrastructure.

“At times there may not be sufficient cash to or money coming in to invest in infrastructure. And that’s a real challenge because hospitals are such a critical component of the healthcare delivery system,” said Hilton Raethel, head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. “And it’s our facilities that every one of us — almost every one of us — will use at some point in our lives.”

This is just the latest crisis at Wahiawa General.

The hospital licensed for almost 70 beds, but usually has around 20 patients because it doesn’t have the staff to manage more than that.

Queen’s is expected to acquire the hospital on April 2 and make significant investments in the facility.

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