LIHUE — After 40 years of serving Kauai’s keiki, Dr. Terence J. Carolan of Kauai Pediatrics Inc. will say aloha to his medical practice next month.
“Forty years is long enough. It’s time,” he said.
Aug. 26 will be the last day Carolan will treat patients in the practice he opened on Kauai back in 1978.
“It’s been a very rewarding experience,” he said. “I like what I do.”
Born in 1944 in Melbourne, Australia, Carolan attended the University of Melbourne and graduated in 1964. He went on to attend the University of Oregon and graduated in 1967 with a degree in special education.
From there, he saw a need to help children, and went on to earn his master’s degree in special education at Columbia University before graduating medical school at Temple University in 1975.
Carolan had a chief residency at Kapiolani Children’s Medical Center on Oahu, but saw a glaring need on the Garden Isle in 1978.
“I discovered this island and realized that I had skills and training that would benefit the children on Kauai,” he said. “There are many more pediatricians on the island than there were 40 years ago. There’s a lot of well-trained and younger pediatricians, but that wasn’t always true.”
Carolan said that he made a conscious decision to leave Oahu for Kauai, and never looked back. After four decades of treating Kauai’s youth, he has grown to be more than a pediatrician, but a part of his patients’ ohana.
“I’m on my third generation of babies, recently. Treating grandparents, their children and now grandchildren has been kind of fun,” Carolan said. “It’s a private practice so they only see me, nobody else. I know them from birth through 18, when they go to college. You develop a personal relationship with them and their families.”
While Carolan will stop his practice next month, his work is far from over.
“It’s not just like I can close the door; there’s a state law that says you have to keep medical records for 23 years beyond the time someone reaches the age of 18. So 18 plus 23 is 45. I have to keep these records until these patients are 45,” he said. “That’s a major project that will have to be addressed at some point in time.”
Some of the most exhilarating experiences Carolan has had during his 40 years of dedicated service has been saving lives of his patients. But he’s ready to move on from day-to-day operations and turn to a new chapter in his life.
But before he can take the next step in his life, Carolan has some medical issues of his own he needs to sort out.
“The next step, shortly after I retire, is getting a new hip,” he said.
After he recovers from that surgery, he’ll figure out what to do with his free time.
“I can’t think of anything in particular, but it will be nice to see what the light is like in my house at certain times of the day instead of being at work,” he said.
Carolan spent most of his life on Kauai, and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.
“I’m staying here,” he said. “You can sprinkle my ashes off the Na Pali Coast.”