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'Vog,' Volcanic Smog, Adds To Oahu Emergency Room Crowding

Posted: 01/05/12 01:13 PM ET

HONOLULU (AP) — Medical officials say patients affected by volcanic smog are taxing Oahu's emergency rooms after the recent closures of two hospitals.

Volcanic gas emissions from the Big Island's Kilauea volcano create what's commonly known as vog. If the trade-winds stop or if wind blows in the opposite direction, other islands such as Oahu experience the condition.

Honolulu EMS Director Dr. Jim Ireland told KHON-TV Wednesday that thick vog this week contributed to numerous calls involving respiratory complaints, headaches and watery eyes.

At one point Tuesday, when the vog rolled in, only two emergency rooms were accepting ambulance patients. Hawaii Medical Center closed two bankrupt hospitals in Ewa and Liliha last month.

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Information from: KHON-TV, http://khon.com

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Filed by James Gerken  |