Hawaii hospital turning away cancer patients due to staff shortages

Kealakekua, Hawaii-based Kona Community Hospital is no longer accepting new patients in its medical oncology and chemotherapy infusions clinics due to staff shortages, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Oct. 13.

The clinics will continue to treat current patients. However, new patients are being referred to Queen’s North Hawai'i Community Hospital in Waimea and Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

"We are actively recruiting for nurses hospitalwide, including both clinics. We have a few good applicants but chose to address the shortage of staff immediately by temporarily pausing on accepting new patient referrals," Judy Donovan, the hospital's marketing and strategic planning director, said in the report.

Currently, the medical oncology clinic has only one medical physician, one nurse practitioner, one registered nurse and one medical assistant on staff. The infusion clinic has two registered nurses, a traveling registered nurse and two per diem registered nurses when available.

Ms. Donovan said she anticipates the situation will be resolved by January.

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