Hawaii native finds new home in Plainview as surgeon at Covenant Health

KCBD Newschannel 11 at 10 - Hawaii Plainview Surgeon - 07/27/2020

PLAINVIEW, Texas (KCBD) - It’s not the kind of move that many people make, a home on the islands of Hawaii to Plainview, Texas. But, Dr. Dayton Wong said after several years on the South Plains, he doesn’t want to leave.

“The match process is where, as a medical student, you apply and you’re contracted to go to wherever you match to,” Dr. Wong said. “In this case, I matched to Texas Tech for the general surgery residency program. Once I got here, I realized that I loved it.”

He said the area is a lot of beach and not as much water.

“It’s a little different here but I think the underlying culture is essentially the same,” Dr. Wong said. “A lot of people will look out for one another, take care of each other. When you go into the bank, go into the supermarket, you have that sense of belonging and sense of community.”

Dr. Wong is from the island of Molokai. He tells KCBD it’s a rural community, with the same feel of West Texas. It was there that he went to medical school and believed he would take over a small family medical clinic. But, he realized surgery was his calling and has spent five years in residency at the Texas Tech School of Medicine.

“I was doing your typical job search, looking online, looking around, seeing what’s available in the region,” Dr. Wong said. “I knew I wanted to stay in West Texas because I love the people. The environment reminds me so much of home. I felt there’s a need here. I felt there’s a sense of belonging, once you find that community that you fit into. It just so happened that I heard that Covenant Health Plainview was looking for a surgeon, a full-time general surgeon.”

He’s excited to be another resource for those seeking medical care in the region. He tells KCBD that Covenant Health Plainview has relied on locum doctors, meaning they are filling the position temporarily. He’s vowing to care for the people of Plainview long-term and is looking forward to making that investment.

“I think getting to know the people who have established themselves here, whoever remain committed to living here, I think is kind of the most exciting thing to me,” Dr. Wong said. “It’s no different than people who have been born and raised on Molokai and continue to live on Molokai until the day they die. It’s interesting because you always have the option of moving, yet people don’t and they’re the foundation of the community. I think getting to know those people will be very exciting.”

Dr. Wong will start his practice on August 3.

Note: the footage in the on-air story was recorded for purposes of this feature and was not an actual appointment.

Copyright 2020 KCBD. All rights reserved.