Editor’s Page: Ducking the Doctor
Why I hide from my sister, the M.D., every June.
PHOTO: KAREN DB PHOTOGRAPHY
I have a confession to make. I am the sister of a Top Doctor. I have nothing to do with the list, which is created independently by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., and I have always gone as far out of my way as possible to make sure to treat her with impartiality.
When the list arrives, I do look for her name, but it ends there. I don’t tell her. I definitely do not tell my proud mom—so she isn’t tortured when she can’t share the news with her friends. For a few weeks, my life is like a game of Taboo—illegal words include “Top Doctors,” “list,” “HONOLULU Magazine” and even “event”—until my sister tells me she received her notification.
Our relationship doesn’t give her any advantage. But it does mean that I know the challenges many Hawai‘i doctors deal with every day. My sister and I often talk on our Bluetooth-headset-linked phones while driving home after sunset, chatting about her packed days seeing patients back-to-back, juggling paperwork, managing teams, and meeting and working with other doctors. When we go on vacation, I’ll find her up before sunrise wherever we are, writing patient notes and answering emails. It’s a fact of life and her job.
According to the 2017 Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Assessment Project, the Islands are short 421 full-time doctors. When you factor in our island-isolated geography, the number is higher. The biggest gap is in primary care. And once Medicare starts penalizing doctors who do not use electronic medical records or meet certain metrics in 2019, the experts expect “a significant number of retirements.” Within the next 10 years, an estimated 52 percent of our physicians will be 65 years or older. The report estimates that we would need 100 more physicians a year to offset losses and demand.
It is no wonder that our doctors log a lot of hours. I’ve talked with my sister as she races to a 7 p.m. Parent Teacher Organization meeting. I’ve also heard the true affection in her voice when she talks about the senior patients who bring her baked treats and fruit from their trees, the moms who give her inside tips for our trips to Disneyland and all the others who comment on her shoe collection, which I helped build.
Christi (in the middle) with her two sisters, in the ’70s.
You can find her and the other 556 Top Doctors, and our roundup of new developments in preventive care. We take a look at the new shingles vaccine that could help more people avoid the painful condition, new guidelines for aneurysm screenings and more.
The fun part of staying healthy is eating healthy. The Kapi‘olani Community College Farmers Market turns 15 this month. Food and dining editor Catherine Toth Fox tells us how another food writer’s trip to California sparked the idea for one of the first places dedicated to helping us eat local.
Our style team of Brie Thalmann and Stacey Makiya help you get an early start on the party season with luxe new looks. But first, they’ll take you behind the scenes in our new print feature, Inside HONOLULU. Every month, someone from our editorial, art, sales, marketing or digital team will get to share a story discovered while working on HONOLULU Magazine. It’s an inside look at a job we all feel privileged to have. So, pick up the new issue and turn to page 24 for a glimpse at the other side of our fashion spreads.
Got a good story? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org