Our Hospital’s History

Though medicine has seen many changes since the hospital was founded, Castle Medical Center has never lost sight of the human side of health care. Today, Castle’s commitment to providing innovative health care is still coupled with concern for each patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Since Castle first opened its doors in 1963, the hospital’s primary mission has been to meet the needs of the community. Fifty years ago, Windward residents welcomed their new hospital with sighs of relief. Finally, care was available close to home.

For years, Windward residents had contended with part-time ambulance service and unpredictable trips over the old Pali Road. In an emergency—when immediate medical care was critical—residents prayed that rockslides and sudden downpours wouldn’t slow their journey.

A small community group, long aware of these problems, launched a campaign in 1953 to establish a hospital in Windward O‘ahu. The late Robert Chung, M.D., and Ms. Carolyn Rankin were the hospital’s major proponents, and numerous fundraisers built financial and community support for the project.

The campaign continued to gain momentum. A series of articles in The Honolulu Advertiser documented the seven-year struggle for a Windward hospital. Castle Ranch donated ten acres of land as a site for the facility. The Seventh-day Adventist Church offered $600,000 towards construction, and $170,000 was raised through community contributions.

Though the Governor’s Hospital Advisory Council and the 30th Territorial Legislature backed the project, the state Board of Health refused to designate Windward O‘ahu as a separate hospital zone. As a result, federal funds for construction were stalled.

Not long after, two separate incidents further emphasized the need for a community hospital. Five men were injured when a roof collapsed at the nearly completed Cornet Store in Kailua. The next month, a two-year-old Kailua girl choked to death on a pill. Doctors in Honolulu felt her life might have been saved if a hospital operating room had been close to home.

The following month, the state Board of Health approved the proposed hospital, and federal funds were made available.

The $2 million facility opened January 16, 1963, a little more than a year after ground was broken. Castle Memorial Hospital, named after Harold K.L. Castle who donated the land, opened with 72 beds and 14 bassinets. In 1983, the hospital changed its name to Castle Medical Center to reflect the growth into outpatient services and programs.

Today

Castle Medical Center is now a 160-bed facility with more than 1,000 employees. On the medical staff are 300 physicians in a wide range of specialties and subspecialties. In the twelve months ending September 2013, Castle provided care for more than 7,500 inpatients, over 74,000 outpatients, and more than 33,000 emergency patients.

Castle Medical Center, a non-profit institution, serves all of O‘ahu and is the primary health care facility for Windward O‘ahu. The hospital is owned and operated by Adventist Health, a Seventh-day Adventist health care system.

(Health care and wellness have been a focus of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from its very founding in the 1800s, and in April of 2010, PBS television stations nationwide aired a documentary titled “The Adventists” that examines this subject. Please click here to read more about the documentary.)

Castle is a full-service medical center offering a wide range of inpatient, outpatient, and home-based services. See the Medical Services section of this Web site for descriptions of Castle’s services.

Many of Castle’s most successful programs are focused on preventive medicine and the promotion of healthy life habits. Castle’s Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine Center, the Performance and Rehabilitation Centers in Kailua and Kāne‘ohe, the employee wellness program, and Castle’s vegetarian cafeteria, The Bistro, all support this mission.

In addition, Castle Medical Center offeres a team approach to weight loss surgery in Hawai‘i with its Surgical Weight Loss Institute. In this program, patients work closely not only with a surgeon, but with an entire team of dedicated weight loss professionals.

A recent major physical project to be completed at Castle has been the total renovation of our Birth Center, now the Vera Zilber Birth Center. More than 1,100 babies a year are now delivered at Castle, and thanks to a generous gift from the Joseph and Vera Zilber Foundation, Castle now has a beautiful new facility in which families can receive the personalized care and enjoy the comfort they seek when a new member of the family is arriving.

Besides all the medical services available at Castle, a wide range of classes and programs have been developed to meet the community’s health needs: birthing classes, infant care classes, vegetarian cooking classes, nutritional counseling, lifestyle weight management, surgical weight loss seminars, smoking cessation counseling, and aerobics and exercise classes. Free seminars are also provided to the public, sometimes with nationally known speakers, on a variety of topics, such as nutrition, advances in medicine, and spiritual wellness. Also free are our support groups on caregiving, Alzheimer’s disease, bereavement, mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, and smoking cessation.