Hundreds Start Life Right At Windward’s 50-year-old Hospital

Castle Medical Center’s 50th birthday party this Sunday could turn into a cacophony of infants – of all ages and levels in life. According to marketing coordinator Helene Waihee, about 300 “Castle babies” have responded to the hospital’s call about its approaching half-century mark.

From grown men and women to today’s teens and toddlers, they all got their start in life at the Windward hospital.

Nora Morgan, a Kailua resident and retired librarian, brought all her children with her from the mainland. But seven out of her eight grandchildren (now in their teens) were born at Castle – and Morgan was there for all of the births.

“Only the first one, who was a preemie, was transferred to Kapiolani,” she recalled. The family also was related to Castle hospital ob/gyn nurse Jane Conlan, who insisted they alert her whenever the time came. “Gramma Jane was there for all of them – two of them her own grandchildren.

“We feel like Castle is part of the neighborhood,” Morgan added. “It’s close to all of us.” She also donated a Boston rocking chair to the Birth Center.

“I loved Castle maternity ward,” declared Dawn Chang, speaking as a delivering mother. Now a Kahaluu attorney and head of a consulting firm, Chang’s three grown children were born there with the assistance of Dr. Eleanor Crimm. She recalled the one-stop-shop birthing room, the special attention her keiki had in the maternity ward and the sweeping views through the windows. “Looking up at the Koolaus,” she said, “it doesn’t get better than that.”

And besides, it was all happening in her home community. In fact, Chang’s son currently works as a “scrub” in the busy CMC emergency room, while making plans for medical school. Her children also got their Hawaiian names while in residence. “Nana Kaui Zuttermeister came to visit each of them and gave them their names: Kau-lananapalikiekie, Kalahikiola and Kaponoikala’i (the scrub).”

Noted Kailua entertainer Mihana Souza also responded to Waihee’s call, as did Leona Pereza of Enchanted Lake. Pereza’s son was CMC’s first premature baby – just a few days after the hospital opened in 1963. Readers may have caught this mother-son story on CMC’s TV commercial.

The open house and 50th birthday festivities will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, with VIP babies in attendance, plus music, food, activities and, just maybe, a few special deliveries.

Waihee is still looking for more infant alumni; call her at 263-5371.