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August 1, 2021
Meet Chester County Hospital’s New Spine Surgeon: Dr. Sherif Sherif
Santa Monica, California.
Rochester, New York.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
West Chester, Pennsylvania.
No, this isn’t a list of destinations to add to your future vacations—though it would be an exciting list if it were. This is just a handful of the many places Dr. Sherif Sherif has called home.
Along with his wife, and later, their two daughters, and even later, their three cats, Dr. Sherif has traveled from coast to coast and across the ocean, exploring the world and studying medicine.
Dr. Sherif, specializes in Orthopaedic Spine Surgery, including degenerative spine disease, minimally invasive spine surgery, adult spine deformity, spine trauma, and spine infections and tumors. He joined the Chester County Hospital community in January 2021.
Dr. Sherif brings medical experience from around the globe to Chester County. He received his Medical Degree from Tanta University in Tanta, Egypt, and completed his Orthopaedic residency at Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt. After moving to the United States with his wife, a Texas native, he conducted five years of research in Orthopaedics in Southern California — two years at the Hip & Pelvis Institute at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica and three years at the LA Orthopaedic Institute at St. Vincent Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles. Later, he completed four Orthopaedic fellowships—three of them in spine surgery focusing on different parts of the spine—at Massachusetts General Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, the University of Rochester, and finally, at the University of Pennsylvania.
In short, Dr. Sherif is no stranger to new communities—or to the human spine.
Below is an excerpt of an interview between Dr. Sherif and Chester County Hospital about his medical career, his values, and what makes him excited about becoming a part of the Chester County community.
Let’s start at the beginning. Why did you decide to enter the medical field?
Dr. Sherif: My father is a general surgeon, my mother and older brother are pathologists, my uncle is an OB/GYN, my other uncle is a plastic surgeon, my mother-in-law is a pathologist, there is another uncle that is a general surgeon—I was born into this field. All of my life, people grew up to be doctors.
Back home when I was a kid, we had a big hospital right next to where we lived. I remember that one night, I saw one of my dad’s friends leaving the hospital. At that time, things were super safe, so we were playing out on the streets until around 2 AM. Literally, at 2 AM, this guy was leaving the hospital looking so tired—his shirt was untucked, he looked miserable. He had just finished surgery and got in his car. It’s really crazy, but I thought, knowing that he most likely had just saved someone’s life or made it much better, “That’s what I want to do with my life.”
I never thought about anything else. It was a no-brainer to be a doctor.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Dr. Sherif: Spine surgery. There is nothing in spine surgery that is a simple, small, or easy case. Every single day, and every single patient that I see—it is a big challenge.
A patient comes in with what we think is a small case, like an obvious disc herniation. And for us, it’s an “easy” case. I’m going to go in, pluck that disc out, and everything is going to be okay. But you can go into the simplest case and end up in surgery for three hours meticulously dissecting a disc fragment that is stuck and adhering to the dural sac that surrounds the nerves.
That’s the most challenging part about the spine. You are working right next to the spinal cord and the nerve that makes us move. You have to be 100% focused all the time, working at 100% or even 120% capacity. The difficult and hard cases, and what people call challenging about the spine—that’s what I like.
And the most rewarding part of your job?
Dr. Sherif: Let’s reference the same case—someone comes in with what we call a “simple” case of disc herniation with their life literally ruined. They can’t walk, they can’t move, they can’t play sports, they can’t pick up their child, they can’t do anything. We do the surgery, and the next morning, I see the patient, and they say, “I’m a new human. My leg doesn’t hurt—all the pain is gone, and I can move again!” That makes my day.
Just to see the smile on my patients’ faces—that’s what makes me wake up the next morning, to go make rounds and see the patients I had yesterday. If you do spine surgery for the right reasons, it works like magic.
What excites you the most about joining the Chester County Hospital community?
Dr. Sherif: West Chester is so beautiful nature-wise. Before we had children, my wife and I were really into the outdoors. When we lived in Southern California, we picked up rock climbing pretty hard. We were rock climbing everywhere. When we had children, this stopped for a while. Now we’re starting to take our 5-year-old to the rock climbing gym. It’s one of the things we love very much.
Chester County Hospital is my favorite size hospital — a big community-based hospital. You can do any surgery you want; however, it still feels like home. People say hi, and they actually know each other in the hallways. If they don’t know each other, they still say hi!
Chester County is a family place. It’s home. That’s what I love about it.
And the new operating suite at Chester County Hospital? It is hands-down the best I’ve ever seen in my life. There’s nothing like it. It looks like someone looked at all the mistakes in the operating room suites everywhere and just fixed it. It’s a beautiful masterpiece. I will do my best to put it to the best use in my practice.
Everyone at Chester County has been working very hard to welcome me, and I will not let them down. And for my patients, I will treat you all like my family—with love and respect.