Dr. Wong Now a Surgeon in Texas
By Catherine Cluett Pactol
Texas has a new surgeon… and he comes all the way from Molokai. Molokai High School alumnus Dr. Dayton Wong has settled in Plainview, Texas with his wife and two young sons, working with Covenant Health Plainview doing general surgery. He said the area feels like home.
“I absolutely love it,” Wong said, via email. “The people of the region remind me so much of the people back home here on Molokai. I am hoping to build a practice in this region of west Texas and am fortunate to have several experienced practitioners who are dedicated to the region as well. The only downside is being so far from home, but thankfully the aloha spirit here is evident.”
After graduating from Molokai, Wong completed medical school at John A. Burns School of Medicine and was then matched to Texas Tech University General Surgery for his residency in Lubbock, Texas.
“Initially my wife was disappointed due to the location but I knew that it was a solid program to obtain the training I needed,” he said. “I consider matching to Texas Tech as a true blessing.”
Small town Texas life means he’s on call frequently for surgical issues, Wong said, but he makes sure to make time for his family and hobbies.
“I have learned to enjoy the hunting and fishing that Texas has to offer but I do find myself missing the reef fishing that I love,” he admitted. “Once things get more settled here with building my practice, I plan to travel back to the islands to enjoy my hobbies.”
Though he misses things about home, Wong said he plans to settle in Plainview for the foreseeable future and build his surgical practice to serve those in need in the rural Texas community. He does see himself moving back to Hawaii someday, but in the meantime, he keeps the island at heart.
“I always tell people that Molokai is the Friendly Isle for a reason and I strive to make my island proud while here in Texas,” he said. “Kindness is universal. There aren’t many places in the world where you find complete strangers who are willing to help others in their community.”
He began practicing surgery on Aug. 1 and received words of praise from fellow surgeons and administration he is joining at Plainview.
“Dr. Wong was recognized as an excellent surgeon with great skills and a strong work ethic,” Covenant Health Plainview CEO Alan King told the local Plainview newspaper. “He has a tremendous ability to communicate and make people comfortable. He came from a small community in Hawaii and grew up in a rural setting and wanted to live in a community that he and his family could be part of. He is a devoted family man, avid outdoorsman. Plainview and Covenant Hospital Plainview are blessed to have him on board.”
Having successfully navigated through his medical education to establish his practice, Wong shared words of encouragement for Molokai students aspiring toward careers in the medical field.
“Do your research so that you have a clear idea of what you are undertaking,” Wong said. “Maximize the resources you have available. I am a public school graduate of Molokai, so I’ve proven that it can be done. Realize that it is a marathon and not a sprint. Do it because you enjoy it, because when it is late at night and you’re running on minimal sleep and food, it is your love of the profession that will keep you going. Be kind to everyone and treat every person with respect. Be humble and remember where you come from.”