Reginald R. Sherrill ’77-A
My devotion to family, employees, patients, friends, and golf. While I find golf to be very challenging and frustrating, I enjoy the serenity and fellowship it provides. It keeps me moving and makes it easier to get my steps in.
In my sophomore year, Carrol S. Small ’34 called me on a Sunday to help him with two autopsies. I had observed several autopsies while taking medical technology, but that was prior to studying anatomy. I had casually mentioned that when the opportunity arose, I would like to see another. I arrived at the hospital expecting to see a group of observers, but it was just me. Dr. Small told me to put on some gloves and help. It was a wonderful opportunity: one-on-one instruction from a master teacher who loved what he was doing. Louis L. Smith ’49 also took me under his wing and helped advance a less than extraordinary student into the surgery residency at Loma Linda. Thomas J. Zirkle ’62, Orlyn B. Pratt ’24, and Ellsworth E. Wareham ’42 all reached out to me in special ways, guiding me as a young doctor in training.
One Sunday I got a call from a friend whose wife was in the emergency room. She had been bitten by two pit bulls and another dog. I was expecting a few small cuts but was shocked to find she had been mauled nearly to death. Our families had just eaten together the day before. When I saw her, she was wrapped from head to toe like a mummy. I removed a few of the dressings and immediately realized she needed surgery. I asked one of the senior surgeons to help close the wounds of the body and scalp while I worked on the face and neck. I spent over seven hours putting the pieces back together while he spent five hours simultaneously working on the other areas. This is the worst injury I have seen in my 40+ years of surgery. Remarkably, she had no infections and hasn’t required any subsequent revision surgery. She remains beautiful 38 years later.
I earned a bachelor’s in theology and planned to be a minister like my father. There are many similarities in these two professions, but medicine emerged victorious. It was very hard to tell my dad that I was changing directions, but after many years, he realized medicine was the best path for me.
I would love to be bilingual; my community demographic is approximately 50% Hispanic. I would also like to play the trumpet better. I thought, like in golf, if I had better equipment I could excel. I have dispelled that notion.
Several mentors have said, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” There are days that I work very hard and it is far from pleasure, but overall I love what I do and find great satisfaction in my work. I have no intention of retiring as long as my eyes, hands, and health hold up. I am enjoying the journey!