Keeping dermatology 'all in the family'

July 1, 2005

It's not unusual today for plastic surgeons and dermatologists to share a practice, nor is it uncommon for husbands and wives to practice together, but 30 years ago when Saida and Sherwood Baxt began their dermatology/plastic surgery practice they were a rare breed — virtually unique, in fact. Still, it was a move they found to be a wonderful experience for them and beneficial for their patients. It doesn't hurt when the team is a mutual admiration society, either.

It's not unusual today for plastic surgeons and dermatologists to share a practice, nor is it uncommon for husbands and wives to practice together, but 30 years ago when Saida and Sherwood Baxt began their dermatology/plastic surgery practice they were a rare breed - virtually unique, in fact. Still, it was a move they found to be a wonderful experience for them and beneficial for their patients. It doesn't hurt when the team is a mutual admiration society, either.

"My mother ran my father's business distributing dairy products to supermarkets. I am the middle of three daughters and we are all professional women. My older sister is a clinical psychologist who ran a program at NYU for many years, and my younger sister is a divorce lawyer in New York City."

Saida says it was no surprise when she went on to medical school - and the story, she says, is not unusual.

"I had always known I wanted to be a doctor. I was a sick child; I had asthma - and I think it's very common when you interview people in medicine to find that they had an illness as a child.

"If you look at the people entering medical school, the percentage of people with allergies is extremely high, because it's such a chronic condition and because asthma makes it difficult for a lot of children to run and play like others. I think they become more focused on the word and the intellectual."

The couple meet It was in medical school that Saida met her future husband and got to know him in a rather unorthodox manner.

"I was living in the dorm and we had a big exam on Monday morning - so on a Saturday night I was certainly going to be studying. Sherwood came in looking for dates for his friends for a party and found me studying. He conned me into going to the party, but instead of letting me go with one of his friends, he decided he was going to take me."

Sherwood Baxt always knew he wanted to be a doctor, too - a surgeon, in fact - and says he's "a typical surgeon - I was never quite the student Saida was."

So, despite having the same physics exam that Monday, Sherwood planned to party.

"I wasn't thinking about a date for me, but when I went into the student lounge, someone came up behind me, put her hands over my eyes, and said, 'Guess who?' I turned around and there was a classmate who was obviously studying like crazy, because she was so bedraggled. She looked so pathetic, I invited her to join us."

Despite their slightly different view of that meeting, they agreed on one thing.

"Two hours later we were engaged."

"He actually proposed to me on our first date," Saida says. Her answer? "I said 'Yes.' To this day, our children cringe when we tell that story.

"It just seemed like a good idea. It seemed like a good fit."

They must have known what they wanted; they married a year later and recently celebrated their 40th anniversary.

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