Thursday, April 25, 2013


Today: crisis averted—but if a bomb had gone off, would Honolulu’s emergency rooms been able to handle it?

by Larry Geller

Thank goodness the bomb scare this morning outside of Circuit Court in downtown Honolulu did not result in an explosion or injuries. Current breaking news indicates that the device was rendered harmless, or perhaps was not a bomb. We’ll certainly learn more shortly.

But I need to take this opportunity to again ask a question I’ve been pounding on: Would Oahu hospitals be ready if a disaster struck here? (4/16/2013).

From that article, this is a quote from Dr. Bill Lee, emergency physician in charge of the ER at Straub Clinic, taken from a news story in 2006:

"There is no capacity to handle a crisis," he said.

That was 2006, and since then the two former St. Francis hospitals closed. Ambulances have been diverted from one emergency room to another as hospitals become unable to accept another patient.

It’s time to get very serious. Today could have been a test. Fortunately, it wasn’t.

One day we might need the ER capacity we don’t have now. An April 16 City Council meeting (at which I spoke) took information but did not produce a solution. Yet, from testimony given that day, I believe many of the parts of a solution can be put together if there is a will to get started.

What are we waiting for?


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