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February 1, 2023

CT scans and advanced wound care are now more convenient for the Lanai community

Article originally published in Lanai Today. Photography courtesy of Maui Health.

Getting on a plane to Oahu or beyond for CT scans and advanced wound care is now in the past. Maui Health now provides these services right here in Maui County, on Lanai and Maui. According to Maui Health, it can support thousands of patients per year combined. Adding these needed medical services greatly expands the Lanai community’s access to high-quality health care.

CT Scanner

On December 6, 2022, Maui Health added a Philips Incisive CT scanner, donated by Pulama Lanai, to its Lanai hospital so residents don’t need to leave the island for this service anymore. This much-needed offering compliments Lanai Community Hospital’s 24-hour emergency care, acute care, X-ray, laboratory and long-term care services. While currently, CT scans are only available on an outpatient basis two days a week, in March 2023, the CT scanner will be in full service with a dedicated technician and available 24/7.

Since the soft opening of the new CT scan suite, the diagnostic team has scanned four patients. For the very first of these patients, Lanai resident Justin Garcia, it was the first CT scan he’d ever had. He said that the hospital staff helped coach him while in the scanner room and made his experience easy. Garcia explained that he found the scanner comfortable and following the clinician’s breathing guidance helped him feel relaxed.

Early detection is key to supporting good health. The new CT scanner shows more detail than an X-ray. In fact, this specific scanner provides 128 slices of high-definition images in a single rotation, enabling maximum clarity and resolution.

It is a painless procedure that uses computerized technology and X-rays to create images of a patient’s bones, organs and other body tissues. Physicians order this test to check for bone or joint problems, internal injuries, head injuries, strokes, blood clots, heart conditions, tumors or cancer. After the test is completed, a radiologist interprets the images and writes a report to the prescribing physician. The team includes five physicians and has a 24-hour interpretation network comprising more than 100 doctors with subject matter experts.

Easier access to CT scans means fewer sleepless nights for the Lanai community. A CT test is crucial to delivering accurate and timely diagnostic information allowing patients to get the right treatment more quickly and reducing the risk of advanced disease, particularly cancer and heart conditions. This scanner can be used with specialized screening software to identify the risk for certain conditions. It allows for scoring exams that look at coronary arteries for plaque which can flag the risk for future heart attack. It also works with lung cancer software that detects nodules or early-stage cancer. People with risk factors for heart conditions or lung cancer can get screened to understand their health status and work with their physicians to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk.

“I’m proud to offer this advanced technology to a remote community like Lanai,” said Dennis McKeon, imaging director at Maui Health and Lanai Community Hospital. “The reason I chose a career in health care is so that I can make a difference to those who struggle with access to health care. It brings me great joy and satisfaction to serve the Lanai community.”

On January 6, the radiology group hosted a free open house and health fair at Lanai Community Hospital. The community was invited to see the space, meet hospital leaders, and learn more about mammograms, wound care, heart failure and stroke prevention, and trauma services at the health fair.

Advanced Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Therapy

Maui Health recently opened Maui Memorial Medical Center Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy outpatient clinic near Maui Memorial Outpatient Clinic on November 16, 2022. The clinic offers comprehensive treatments for patients with non-healing wounds such as diabetic ulcers, arterial/ischemic ulcers, venous ulcers, traumatic injuries, surgical wounds, pressure ulcers, crush injuries, compromised flaps or grafts, and radiation wounds. This advanced wound care clinic is the first on Maui and provides a much-needed service to Maui County residents. For Lanai residents, advanced wound care is just a short ferry ride away and eliminates the need to fly to Oahu every week for care.

Patients can get care through a doctor or self-referral. For many patients, receiving this care has been life changing. Some have had open wounds for years which required daily dressing for treatment. And treatment gives patients the freedom to live a better quality of life such as being able to swim in the ocean.

If a wound remains unhealed after traditional and/or clinical treatments, the patient may receive hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy which provides safe and efficient treatment for non-healing wounds. This treatment allows the patient to breathe in 100% oxygen to carry more oxygen to the organs and tissues to promote healing and stimulate white blood cells to fight infection. Since patients require multiple sessions, making this service convenient is paramount.

The wound care clinic has two HBO chambers. These transparent chambers are like being in a pressurized airplane. Most sessions are two hours long and patients can watch movies, Netflix, or listen to music while being attended by a highly trained technician the entire time. Since these chambers contain oxygen, the clinic follows strict precautions including removing any possible flammable objects to ensure the safety of all patients.

“What we provide to the community has changed people’s lives,” said Jessica Acop, program director, MMMC Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy. “It is amazing to heal our community members and to support our mission and purpose to heal Maui and neighboring communities.”

Patients seeking CT scans and wound care and hyperbaric therapies can ask their health care provider for information. Learn more about Maui Health’s community hospitals and clinics, including Lanai Community Hospital and Maui Memorial Medical Center Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy, at mauihealth.org.

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