Linda Mumma reporting


MODESTO (CBS13) — Sunday was National Women Physicians Day and a hospital in Modesto celebrated by shining a light on its nearly all-female surgical staff.

The group gathered on the helipad of Doctors Medical Center in Modesto for a picture perfect moment in an area of the hospital they rarely get to see. It was a symbolic act, on the rooftop of the hospital, illustrating how the female physicians shattered the glass ceiling to become leaders in a male-dominated field.

“It’s extremely unique. When I came to town I was the first women surgeon here; joined a bunch of men and gradually all these other women came along,” said trauma surgeon Dr. Niamh Seavey. 

The hospital is home to eight trauma surgeons, seven of whom are women.

“People have a lot of sympathy for him. Some of the other male doctors will come by his door now and then and say do you need to talk about football?” Seavey said. 

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The nearly all-female crew is so rare, it’s almost unheard of at any other hospital in the country. Surgeon Jihan Hegeazy said she was the only female surgeon in her department in Philadelphia for 14 years.

Trauma Medical Director Dr. Rohnui Bogineni said the surgeons are always a talking point at conferences because they are so unique. The women said there are advantages to having fellow female surgeons on staff.

“Women just take care of patients differently and I think we influence other doctors to do that as well. We’re just nurturers, we’re carers,” Hegeazy said.

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While they admit it’s sometimes a difficult job with demanding hours, they encourage others to pursue the profession.

“Whether they’re women or men, if this is what you love, you should do it,” Hegeazy said. 

This unique group not only performs general and trauma surgeries, but all of the surgeons are trained in robotics, which helps put Modesto on the map for its high level of care.

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