Healthwise Maui

Q: I’m a mom of three young and active boys and just moved Upcountry. Since I’m now closer to Kula Hospital than Maui Memorial, can I go to the Kula ER for cuts and stitches and X-rays, or do I still need to drive to the Maui Memorial ER?

Rachel Corah, Manager, Kula Hospital Emergency Department: Yes, the Kula Hospital Emergency Room has the equipment and staff to care for these kinds of nonlife-threatening emergencies. Our Emergency Department offers X-ray and laboratory services and can take care of splinting, suturing and wound care, as well as administer IV fluids and medications. There is a physician on staff in the ER 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On most weekdays, you or your sons could be seen immediately, with little to no wait. Weekends and holidays are a little busier, but wait times are still usually much shorter than at Maui Memorial Medical Center Emergency Room.

While Kula Hospital ER can take care of patients with a cold or the flu, broken bones or those in need of wound care, we recommend that anyone with a serious or complex medical problem or medical need use the Maui Memorial ER. If you are experiencing signs of a heart attack or stroke, please call 911 immediately and operators can assist in determining important next steps. Please note that the Kula Hospital ER or operator is not able to provide medical advice over the phone. Medical questions should be directed to your primary care physician and insurance questions to your insurance carrier.

Q: My dad had a stroke last summer and seemed to be recovering well until right after Christmas when he began showing signs of depression. I’ve read about post-stroke depression but didn’t realize it could surface so long after his stroke. Is this possible, and what can we do to help him cope?

Dr. Cordia Wan, neurologist: Post-stroke depression can set in weeks, months or even years after a stroke and in many cases, like with your dad, it may be unexpected and can interfere with the healing process, both physical or psychological. A stroke can change someone’s life in an instant. A once active, avid tennis player, for example, can suddenly lose the ability to walk without assistance. Someone who loves to read may no longer be able to focus on or comprehend simple sentences. This, along with genetics or other social factors, can trigger depression.

First and foremost, if you suspect a loved one is suffering from post-stroke depression, you should contact his or her health care provider. There are many options for treatment depending on the patient’s health history and stage of recovery. Recommended treatments can include medication and various forms of therapy like mental health and cognitive behavioral health therapy. Additionally, there are some practical management strategies that can be implemented at home to help fight depression. This includes more open communication between stroke survivor and their family, friends and caregivers, and improved nutrition to include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and vitamin B, to name a few. Support groups are also highly recommended for those dealing from post-stroke depression and especially their caregivers.

* Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on Thursdays. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealthsystem.org/contact.

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