Hawaii's Best Doctors
Doctors Recommending Doctors — The list everyone’s been waiting for.
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As a neurointensivist at The Queen’s Medical Center, Dr. Cherylee Chang handles patients who are seriously injured or critically ill. Among some of her most common cases: head trauma, large strokes, seizures and neurological spinal-cord injuries.
“It can be tough, but it’s very rewarding,” she says. “You have the ability to make a difference for patients, not just in their survival, but in their quality of life after. You can’t save everybody, but when you can snatch them back, it’s incredible.”
One week each month, Chang is on call 24 hours a day at Queen’s neurocritical care unit. Some days, she gets to go home at a reasonable hour. Other times, she might work a 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. shift.
When not on call, Chang focuses on her duties as medical director of The Queen’s Medical Center’s Neuroscience Institute and the Neurocritical Care Program, as well as its Stroke Center. “That’s when I do my deskwork and research,” says Chang, adding with a laugh, “At least those two weeks, I get to sleep at night and see my kids before bedtime.”
David Marcus Amberger
Dr. David Amberger can tell a lot about people, without ever having to meet them. He only needs a tissue sample. Amberger performs 13 percent of the pathology in Hawai‘i, analyzing cells for signs of disease.
“The resident pathologists like to test me,” says Amberger, who founded Aloha Laboratories Inc. in 1992. “They’ll give me a slide and say, ‘Tell me about this person.’ And I can give them the person’s age and race, just by looking at the cells.” Amberger calls pathology the “black box” of medicine. Patients rarely consider where their tests go. Most just want to know, “What’s wrong with me?” Unfortunately, the results aren’t always clear-cut.
“There are gray areas—normal for one person isn’t normal for another, and it’s hard to explain that to someone,” says Amberger. “Most of what I look at is bad news for people, but it’s better than them not knowing. A patient’s treatment starts with the diagnosis.”
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