Hawaii's Best Doctors
Doctors Recommending Doctors — The list everyone’s been waiting for.
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Marian E. Melish
Children make the best patients, says pediatric specialist Dr. Marian Melish, because they take doctors’ orders more seriously than grownups. “They’re usually more optimistic,” says Melish. “They often do what they’re told if you simply explain why it’s important.”
At Kapi‘olani Medical Center, Melish focuses on infectious diseases in children, from the common (staph and strep) to the exotic (malaria and tuberculosis). It’s actually the common ones that worry Melish most.
“Children scratch their cuts and mosquito bites,” she says. “With staph and strep skin infections, kids can get impetigo or boils, which can lead to severe disease.”
Melish’s related concern? The overuse of antibiotics. “Many parents demand antibiotics for trivial infections, and doctors sometimes give in too easily,” she says. An unneeded antibiotic can breed bacterial strains that drugs can’t kill. “There aren’t many drugs in the pipeline for treating resistant organisms, so we need to preserve what we’ve got.”
In one of the procedure rooms at Straub Clinics & Hospital’s plastic surgery department, the far wall is covered with a mural in brown and green—a spare landscape of bamboo and mountains. It’s the work of Dr. Randolph Wong, chief of plastic surgery. Hardly surprising—the aesthetics of his discipline do require a creative touch.
But Wong estimates that cosmetic procedures account for only 30 percent of his practice. The rest of his time is spent treating burns, skin cancer and a wide assortment of other problems. “Plastic surgeons work in all areas,” Wong says. “If you need a muscle flap to support a hole in the heart or the lung, we can assist with reconstruction. I sometimes work with neurosurgeons to assist with the plastic reshaping of the head.”
Wong says he loves seeing the results of his work. “A simple change can sometimes open up a lifetime for patients.”
Rae Nagao Teramoto
endocrinology and metabolism
“In endocrinology, half our job is diabetes, the other half is everything else—thyroid, menopause, anything to do with hormones,” says Dr. Rae Nagao Teramoto of Kuakini Medical Center.
The incidence of diabetes in the state is twice that on the Mainland, says Teramoto, who serves on the Hawai‘i State Diabetes Task Force. Unfortunately, many people are developing diabetes at younger ages. “We used to say 40 was the age you’d see diabetes,” she says. “Now, I see many in their 20s, 30s, even some teenagers. It’s hard getting people to eat right and exercise three times a week.”
While the situation seems to be worsening, the treatment of diabetes continues to improve. “We have four classes of oral medication nowadays, whereas we used to have only one,” Teramoto says. “There are also a lot more devices to administer insulin that make it much easier for patients.”
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