Shriners Hospital Opens Honoka’a Outreach Clinic
Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu regularly holds outreach clinics in Hilo and Kona, but for the first time ever, the hospital’s outreach staff opened a clinic in Honoka’a on Wednesday. The clinic, located at Hamakua-Kohala Health, is the first neighbor island clinic to take place in a medical facility.
Community members gathered to celebrate and welcome Shriners into the community, according to hospital officials. The lack of pediatric neurologists and pediatric orthopaedic surgeons in the rural areas of the Big Island and other outer islands leaves a lack of medical attention that Shriners aims to provide.
The new clinic in Honoka’a provides families with the ability to take their children somewhere close to home.
Twelve-year-old Matthew Francis and his family are proof of the lack of specialized doctors in rural areas. Prior to Francis’ visit with Shriners neurologist Dr. Ryan Lee, his family was unaware that he had cerebral palsy.
“Part of our goal is to help his family clarify the diagnosis he has, allso to help him reach his potential, whatever that potential that may be, and we’ve began the process of transforming lives today,” said Lee, M.D.
Shriners accepts kids from all circumstances and never turns them away for lack of insurance or inability to pay.
“You are going to find that there are so many people who have this unspoken bond with Shriners. It was because of them that our kids could go and get help,” said County Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter.
The next visit by the pediatric orthopaedic surgeon to Hamakua-Kohala Health in Honoka’a is scheduled for July 16. On that day, kids with bone, muscle, and joint conditions are invited to visit. Appointments should be made prior to the date by calling (808) 941-4466.