CONWAY — Memorial Hospital’s newest pediatrician has some simple advice for new parents: “Babies don’t come with an instruction manual. Follow your baby’s lead. When your baby is hungry, feed it. When your baby is crying, soothe it. They’re going to be the boss. All I ask is that you love your baby.”
And, in a nod to numerous sketchy parenting advice found on the internet, quickly adds, “and stay away from Mommy blogs.”
Dr. Kathryn Fekete comes to Memorial Hospital’s Mt. Washington Rural Health Primary Care by way of the Army, where she has been on active duty since 2015, most recently stationed at Fort Irwin, Calif. She has also served on bases or as part of humanitarian or mission trips in India, Cambodia, South Korea and Hawaii.
Memorial Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matt Dunn says he is “excited’ to welcome someone with the international experiences Dr. Fekete brings to the pediatrics practice, saying “She has literally practiced pediatrics around the world."
Fekete joins Dr. Charlotte Helvie as part of Memorial’s growing pediatrics practice.
Fekete knew medicine was in her future when attending American University in Washington as an undergraduate but did not pursue medical school immediately. Following graduation she worked as a scribe in a Washington-area trauma center, transcribing physician notes and instructions into electronic medical records. Residents from Walter Reed Medical Center made frequent visits to the center.
“I have an interest in humanitarian medicine and mission trips to the developing world, and these residents were describing how the military provides opportunities to participate in humanitarian missions, to travel the world and visit different places. And the military residents were so kind," she said. "That’s the team I wanted to be on.”
Fekete graduated from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, receiving a military scholarship. She served an internship and residency in pediatrics at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.
Through the military and through her church, she has participated in several medical mission trips in Hawaii and South Korea. “This was a way to love my neighbor. I am hoping to have more opportunities for outreach. It might not be helping the homeless population and it may not be a mobile clinic but, hopefully, there will be opportunities for outreach in Conway.”
Coming to the Mount Washington Valley is something of a homecoming for Fekete. “I am from Connecticut and I’ve been away for a really long time," she said. "It’s time to come home. I miss my family. I’ve missed seeing my nieces grow up.”
She also looks forward to the closeness she will have with her patients. She said, “I love meeting families in the delivery room, going to see their babies when they are just hours old and watching them grow up, watching the family grow, watching the parents grow in confidence and knowledge, watching the child become a healthy toddler.”
Fekete also looks forward to the closeness one can only get in a small community. An army base, she says, has a similar “feel” to a small town. “I see my patients in church. I see my patients when I am out running. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at rashes in the grocery store. It shows that they trust me and trust my expertise and have put their trust in me to advise them.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Fekete or another primary care provider, call (603) 356-5472. Already a Memorial Hospital patient? Request an appointment through your MyChart account.