Town of Ridgway: Local doc builds new practice

by Mary Pat Haddock

When Dr. David Sherwood first saw Ridgway while backpacking across the state in 1988, he looked out over the valley and thought, “this is it.” When Sherwood was offered the opportunity a few years later to practice medicine in Ridgway, he describes the decision as “a no brainer.” Sherwood now says he “can’t imagine practicing medicine anywhere else.”

Sherwood is in the process of opening his own private practice in the Ridgway Pharmacy building. He had been discussing the potential benefits of the move with his wife and Ridgway Pharmacy owner, Donna Sherwood, for some time. When Dale Yocum, the last of Sherwood’s original Mountain Medical Center co-workers, left the center, Sherwood decided it was time to begin conversations about moving along as well. All concerned parties agreed it was in their mutual best interest to make the move sooner rather than later, he said.

Sherwood has been using his time to work on his new waiting and treatment rooms. Rather than hiring painters and carpenters to do the work, Sherwood is personally performing the construction required to transform the back of Ridgway Pharmacy into a welcoming medical practice. Sherwood has a diverse professional background, including time spent building houses.

The temporary exam room will be ready for patients by Jan. 2. It will take six months for Sherwood to expand the rest of the space to incorporate two exam rooms, a waiting area and X-ray capabilities. At that point, he will hire a medical assistant and possibly a receptionist.

Sherwood’s willingness to take care of tasks himself extends to his family life as well. Last year, one of his three daughters, Sam, was studying photography in school, and the class focused on digital photography. Sherwood wanted her to understand film to better understand digital. He constructed a dark room in his basement for Sam to use while home on Christmas vacation. Sam’s teacher liked the idea so much she is discussing constructing one for her other students with Sherwood.

Sherwood’s role as Dad is clearly a primary focus in his life. In addition to creating dark rooms, Sherwood has constructed ziplines in his backyard for all his girls. He taught his daughters Sam and Bailey to ice climb, while his stepdaughter Alex learned from her father. Sherwood climbs with all three girls when they are in town.  

Of his role as Doctor, Sherwood stated, “I do a little bit of everything and if I don’t know what to do I’ll find out who does and get you in touch with them.” Sherwood believes only the “worst kind of doctors won’t admit when they don’t know something.” When asked why he chose to stay in Ridgway to open a new practice, Sherwood said, “I know my patients. This is the kind of medicine I was meant to do.”

Sherwood is now scheduling appointments at (970) 626-4370.