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  • Writer's pictureElaine Berberich

Dr. Kathie King retires as FHYC Fleet Surgeon.

Commodore Barb Robinson presents Kathie King with a service award for being the fleet surgeon for 15 years.

At the November 10, Fairfield Harbour Yacht Club meeting, Dr. Kathie King was honored by the club and presented a certificate by Commodore Barb Robinson for her 15 years of service as FHYC Fleet Surgeon. The fleet surgeon serves on the Medical Support committee and is a non-voting member of the bridge/board. Another responsibility is to serve as an advisor on medical issues to the club and board as they arise and affect the club. They do not provide direct medical care except in cases of emergency.

The term “Fleet Surgeon” defines a physician or surgeon who would be responsible for the medical care and health of sailors on a ship. In current-day yacht clubs, it refers to a person with a medical background who assumes the role of medical advisor for the club.

With her 15 years of service to the club, Kathie has served longer in a position than any other person in the Yacht Club—by far! She stepped down because she wanted to give the position to someone with “new blood and new ideas.”

Kathie and her husband Doug have lived in Fairfield Harbour since the spring of 2006 after retiring to do the “Great Loop.” She had practiced at Duke Medical Center and was on the faculty in anesthesiology, practicing and teaching medical students and residents, and was involved in medical student education beyond the department, including 12 years on the

Medical School Admission committee. Prior to attending medical school, Kathie worked as a nurse practitioner, so she brings the best of both disciplines to her medical expertise.

Doug and Kathie joined both Blackbeard Sailing Club and Fairfield Harbour Yacht Club in 2006 after choosing Fairfield Harbour as their new home. In 2008, Commodore Charlie Ward left a note in her brown box asking if she would become fleet surgeon. Kathie responded “yes” and the rest is history. Years later Kathie says that every time she sees Charlie Ward she says, “you gave me my start.”

She leaves behind quite a legacy in her 15 years of service to the club. Shortly after starting her position, she put together the extensive and critical Medical Emergency Support Plan. She has been a strong supporter of making sure members were trained in basic life support and CPR. Many club members have talked about how informative and necessary her sessions on emergency first aid were to them. She provided these three times over the years as well as being a constant source of the latest in emergency and medical care. Over the years, she has provided and started resuscitation, performed the Heimlich maneuver, assisted with heat stroke, and helped with emergencies as needed- the same as any well-trained medical professional would do.

It was probably her extensive research and ready information during the Covid epidemic that really made the club and community realize what a treasure they had in Dr. Kathie King. She spent hours keeping the club and community informed on what was often a confusing as well as a constantly emerging disease and she really was “Covid Command Central” when it came to information. During Covid restrictions, all monthly meetings for FHYC were by Zoom and all activities were outdoors. Dr. King was an important part of the FHYC Covid Re-opening Committee which met monthly from January to June 2021.

During the Covid pandemic, all members of the community looked forward to receiving her frequent updates. Having the ability to continue with outside activities helped greatly with mental health during the pandemic and boating and other FHYC activities will long be remembered as helping us all cope and survive.

She will be leaving soon to travel overseas for 18 days to the Middle East. Bonjour, Kathie and enjoy your travels as well as your retirement from being fleet surgeon. You will be missed.

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