State pushes for comprehensive review of EMS statewide

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The state Department of Health wants a review of EMS systems across the state, following reports of  ambulances breaking down while on an emergency call.

Lawmakers and the state health department are in agreement. They need to know once and for all what resources are needed and where to put them.

The family of Keo Aiwohi is still looking for answers. On February 15, an ambulance picked him up in Nanakuli because he was having trouble breathing. Aiwohi was pronounced dead at the hospital.

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

The family says the ambulance took too long to get there. And questions why Aiwohi was taken to Queen’s Medical Center West In Ewa when Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center was much closer. 

“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,” said Teruya.

EMS says there were no delays. They got the call at 11:13 a.m. and arrived at 11:25. The patient was treated at the scene, left for the hospital at 11:50 and arrived at 12:23. EMS says Aiwohi was taken to Queen’s because it was the appropriate hospital with the right resources.
The family also expressed concerns after KHON2 reported of another patient who died when the ambulance was late because it broke down.

And out of the 53 ambulances on Oahu, 23 of them have more than 200,000 miles. 

EMS says in this case, there were no mechanical issues. But both incidents have lawmakers pushing for a comprehensive review of EMS systems statewide.

“So all this is coming together at the right time to review our resources, review what we need, review the funding,” said Dr. Alvin Bronstein, EMS Branch Chief at the state health department.

Dr. Bronstein says the last time it was done was 28 years ago by federal regulators. So it’s long overdue.

The House Health and Human Services committee approved the measure, and plans to call it Keo’s Law. It also calls for more money to go into EMS statewide.

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