Pediatrician applies parenting perspective to medical care

Pediatrician applies parenting perspective to medical care
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As the father of four daughters and grandfather to six grandchildren, Dr. Kenneth Graham loves walking alongside first time moms and dads.

“First time parents feel like fish out of water and are always really nervous about being a parent and it’s nice to hold their hand through that. If I could take care of babies all day, I would,” he said with a laugh.

Graham, who practices at Logan Health Children’s Primary Care, was selected as the Best Pediatrician in the Daily Inter Lake’s annual Best of the Flathead readers poll.

Even as a kid, Graham wanted to be a doctor but he was running errands for doctors at the hospital in Butte that intensified his passion for medicine. When he shared his intention to pursue medical school, he received the full support of the hospital’s pediatrician, Dr. Dennis McCarthy.

“When I told him I wanted to get into medicine, he said, ‘You should do it, Ken!’ He was a really good mentor of mine,” Graham said.

With a solid affirmation from McCarthy, Graham decided to pursue pediatrics and graduated from University of New Mexico School of Medicine medical school in 1991. Years after working for the hospital as an errand runner, Graham returned as a doctor.

Between graduating from medical school and working as a doctor at Rocky Mountain Children’s Clinic, Graham served in the Air Force as a pediatrician and was promoted to the rank of major at the completion of his duty at Sheppard Air Force Base Hospital.

Pediatrics allows Graham to develop long-last relationships with families.

“I really like pediatrics because when you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you just bond with the families,” he said. “Now I’m going to the deliveries of kids I’ve taken care of and that’s been a blessing for me.”

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But with every high, there is a low, and Graham has walked through some deep valleys with families.

“I was with a family where I’d taken care of all their kids and the mom had a fourth pregnancy with an anencephalic baby,” he said. “She wanted to take the baby to birth even though she knew the baby would die shortly after.”

Seeing children from birth to adulthood, Graham has certainly gone through his fair share of life-changing events with families all over Montana, and he says he wouldn’t be able to do it without his team.

“I have such incredible staff here and I have to give a shout out to my office manager and front desk people and our nurses and a great group of partners. We have such a legacy in our clinic of longevity of the people who work for us because we support each other and are really close,” Graham said.

Even with 30 plus years of experience in pediatrics, Graham is still proudest of his work as a dad and grandad.

“Parenting is one of my proudest moments. It spills over into having a lot of experience as a parent and then can bring those areas of expertise into pediatrics,” he said.

Graham loves kayaking, paddleboarding, skiing, hiking, backpacking and fishing. When he isn’t enjoying the great outdoors or working, he is volunteering with his church and participating as the co-medical director at Hope Pregnancy Center.

“We offer great compassionate and evidence-based care and we’re really studious about keeping up with the latest and greatest treatments,” he said.

Hanging in Graham’s office is a quote that he holds fast to — “Live in such a way that if anyone speaks badly about you, no one would believe them.”

Graham hopes to continuously impact the lives of his patients and the next generation of pediatricians.

“I’d like to be remembered for the service that we’re doing here and our heart for kids and what we do for the community,” he said.

Reporter Summer Zalesky may be reached at szalesky@dailyinterlake.com

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