Hawaii department of health pushing to review EMS systems

Following several reports of ambulances breaking down on calls, the officials at the state Department of Health wants to review resource allocations


By EMS1 Staff

HONOLULU — After several incidents involving ambulances breaking down while on emergency calls, the Department of Health is pushing for an investigation into the health of the EMS system as a whole.

KHON 2 reported that health officials and lawmakers want to review emergency services across Hawaii after a string of complaints involving slow and broken ambulances.

Health officials and lawmakers want to review emergency services across Hawaii after a string of complaints involving slow and broken ambulances. (Photo/Hawaii Department of Health)
Health officials and lawmakers want to review emergency services across Hawaii after a string of complaints involving slow and broken ambulances. (Photo/Hawaii Department of Health)

In an incident that took place in February, the family of Keo Aiwohi, who was having difficulty breathing, claims emergency response was too slow to arrive at the home, and the ride to the hospital took too long.

Aiwohi was pronounced dead at the hospital.

“He had more to live at 40 years old,” Patty Teruya, Aiwohi’s mother, said. “He left 10 children, his youngest is four months.”

In addition to the long trip, the family wondered why they passed a closer hospital, and instead drove to one farther away.

“I followed the ambulance through West Oahu, through Farrington Highway, through the traffic that they couldn’t go through, and it took them more than what is supposed to have taken them.”

However, the agency said there was no delay in response, and the hospital was chosen because of the resources required for the emergency.

Still, for lawmakers, the time is ripe for a review. According to Dr. Alvin Bronstein, EMS branch chief at the state health department, it’s been 28 years since federal regulators last reviewed the EMS system.

“This is all coming together at the right time to review our resources, review what we need, review the funding,” he said.

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