During his five years of training of as a General Surgery Resident, Dr. Michael Cutshall encountered many difficult and nerve-wracking surgical cases, but none of those situations made him as nervous as performing a simple hernia repair with longtime General Surgeon Dr. Ken Cutshall.

“The first time I ever scrubbed in with him was the most nervous I’ve ever been while operating. My hands were shaking,” Michael remembers. ”I wanted Dad to be proud.”

That simple hernia repair marked the first time Michael and his father Kenneth shared an operating room together. It was the culmination of the young Dr. Cutshall’s dream.

General Surgeons Dr. Ken and Dr. Michael Cutshall

“When I decided to become a general surgeon, my dream was to move back home and work with my father.”

Dr. Michael Cutshall recently returned to his hometown of Johnson City, TN, to join  Premier Surgical Lawson Group, his father, Dr. Ken Cutshall’s medical practice.

While the senior Cutshall is delighted to have Michael follow in his footsteps, he didn’t want him to feel obligated to become a surgeon.

“When he said he was going into surgery, I said ‘Are you sure?”, explains Ken. “I told him, make sure you pick something that makes it fun going to work every day. Don’t pick a career for any other reason than you enjoy doing it.”

Michael says seeing his father’s love of medicine influenced his own decision to go into medicine.  “It was definitely a driving factor. I would visit my dad’s office as a kid and remember him genuinely enjoying his work.”

The father and son’s personal and professional lives share several parallels.

Dr. Michael and Dr. Ken Custshall scrub in together on a case.

“We’ve had a similar path,” says Michael. “I went to the same medical school as my father, my wife is a nurse and worked at the same children’s hospital that my mother did while I was in medical school, and our two sons were born while I was in residency like my brother and I were when Dad was a resident.”

The pair has enjoyed teaming up on cases and sharing surgical techniques. Michael says he’s also learned some important life skills from his dad.  “He raised me to treat everyone with respect, and now I’m seeing firsthand how he works with the OR team and how much they enjoy working with him.”

The senior Dr. Cutshall says he’s also learning new surgery methods from Michael. The  first time operating with his son was an exciting milestone. “It was awesome! It was the first time I’ve ever had anyone in the OR say, ‘Hey, Dad!’ That was pretty cool.”

Drs. Ken and Michael Cutshall are general surgeons with Premier Surgical Lawson Group in Johnson City, TN. To schedule an appointment with Drs. Cutshall or one of their partners, please call (423) 975-5650.