Governor orders full investigation into patient escape

Posted on Nov 29, 2017 in Capitol Connection, Featured
At podium: Gov. Ige and DOH director Ginny Pressler

Better security: Gov. Ige and DOH Director Ginny Pressler outline plans. Photo courtesy of KITV.

An immediate investigation into the escape of Hawai‘i State Hospital patient Randall Saito, 59, is underway, as ordered by Governor Ige. So far, seven hospital employees have been suspended without pay for 30 days as the Department of Health (DOH) sets out to uncover how the killer was able to leave the grounds after 38 years in confinement. Saito was captured after chartering a plane to Maui, then boarding a commercial flight to California.

“This escape should never have happened,” said the governor. “I stand with the public in being deeply concerned that this dangerous person was able to leave our hospital undetected for hours. Law enforcement and the public should have been notified sooner.”

DOH director Dr. Ginny Pressler acknowledged “a major breakdown in hospital procedures, protocols and guidelines. In the meantime, all unescorted on- and off-campus privileges have been stopped, all levels of patient privilege and visitation policies are being reviewed, and additional security fencing is being expedited. A new high-security state hospital facility has been funded by the Legislature and is targeted for completion around December 2020.

Read more in our December issue