by: Paul Drewes
NORTH SHORE (KHNL) - They are in our communities, hidden to many, but helping in their own way to make our Hawaii a better place. They are ordinary people with an extraordinary passion for people. Including one who is making a difference for those living on Oahu's North Shore.
A country doctor that has a different way of treating his patients, one that's made a big difference for a small Oahu community.
A visit to Dr. Shlachter's Laie office is like taking a trip back in time. It is filled with hundreds of historical pictures of Hawaii's people.
Over the 36 years he's been practicing, many patients have given the doctor, a little of themselves along with the pictures.
"One of the joys of medicine is really getting to know the patient well." says Dr. Shlachter.
But unlike most other island physicians, a clinic isn't the only place Dr. Shlachter gets to know his patients.
This country doc makes house calls.
He was the first fulltime doctor between Kahuku and Kaaawa and he still goes out to see his patients, something the doctor believes makes his job at his clinic easier.
"Its very effective to go to the house, that's where you see everything the living conditions, the relatives. The good and not so good things that are going on in a person's life."
And during his time serving the north shore community, he's seen a lot of good.
This haole doctor became a Samoan chief here 30 years ago.
He's been a part of Kahuku high school football championships and has been welcomed into people's homes and their hearts.
"Some of these people have repaired fishing nets for me, taken me fishing, harvested taro, that was quite an experience."
But he's also seen the bad, witnessing the health deteriorate for some of his long time patients.
"He has all kinds of medical conditions, gout, and high blood pressure. He doesn't walk , so for him to get to the doctor I would have to carry him." says Lufi Taua, the daughter of one of those longtime patients.
As this country doctor takes the elderly man's blood pressure, he is doing more than just look after the heart of his patient...he's also keeping an eye on the pulse of this quiet north shore community.
"We couldn't ask for any other doc better than him, he's really good." adds Taua with a smile.