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Nyack Hospital's Chief of Surgery Passes Away

Dr. Wagdi F. Ibrahim known for his compassion toward patients, dedication to hospital and passion for photography

Dr. Wagdi F. Ibrahim of Nyack, chief of the Section of General Surgery at , died Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern. He was 65.

Dr. Ibrahim, a beloved father, husband, grandfather, brother, and uncle, touched countless lives through his 26 years of service as a surgeon at Nyack Hospital. He will be remembered for his compassion toward his patients and their families, his warmth and camaraderie among his colleagues and his unwavering dedication to the Nyack community.

Born in Cairo, Egypt, he was the son of Claire Kamel Rafla and Fadl-Allah Ibrahim, an English teacher and school principal. Dr. Ibrahim aspired to become a physician from a very young age. He grew up with his sister and four brothers, and through hard work and dedication received his medical training at Cairo University.

He was later awarded a scholarship to further his education at the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons in London, England. During these years he gained valuable surgical experience working in hospitals throughout England. This hands-on experience would teach him the finer points of general and thoracic surgery along with urology and orthopedics. He would later further his surgical skills in accident and emergency care at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, England.

After his time in England, Dr. Ibrahim would fulfill another dream by joining his extended family, which had relocated to the United States. He completed his residency in General Surgery at Staten Island Hospital, making the long commute from his new home in Rockland County. 

Thereafter, he opened an office in Nanuet, eventually establishing Rockland Surgical Associates with Dr. Themos Vrachnos. 

During his tenure at Nyack Hospital, Dr. Ibrahim was on the hospital’s Peer Review and Surgical Case Review Committees and served as Chief of the Division of General Surgery. Dr. Ibrahim had an incredibly strong work ethic.  He dedicated himself to his patients and worked many late nights, often struggling through harsh weather conditions to get to the hospital for emergency calls.  He touched the lives of countless people in and around Rockland County, including development of Nyack Hospital’s Breast Cancer Program.

When he wasn’t working, Dr. Ibrahim was a voracious reader who also enjoyed crossword puzzles. His passion for photography led him to build a home photo-developing studio and he kept up with changing technology by trading in his dark-room and teaching himself to use photographic software. He was an avid exercise enthusiast who would be seen going on runs around his Nyack neighborhood.

He most recently backpacked the Grand Canyon with his son, and enjoyed spending the Christmas holiday in Florida with his grandchildren, whom he adored.

Dr. Ibrahim is survived by his wife, Dr. Nabila Salama, and their three children, his daughter Claire Colon-Hopkins (Ibrahim), her husband Jason Hopkins, and their four children Sonia, Amira, Olivia and Nadia of Oakland, CA, and his two sons Dr. Sherrif Ibrahim and his wife Vanphen Chanthalangsy Ibrahim of Rochester, NY, and Joseph Ibrahim, of Modesto, Ca.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Nyack Hospital Foundation, 160 N. Midland Ave., Nyack, NY, 10960 are requested. The family wishes to thank the staff of Nyack and Good Samaritan hospitals and other first responders for their heartfelt caring and thoughtful response in their time of need. 

A public memorial celebration of Dr. Ibrahim’s life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 11 a.m., at , 151 S. Broadway, Nyack. A private burial will be held at Oak Hill Cemetery in Nyack at a later date.

Kim Raso Stewart January 10, 2012 at 11:20 PM
I just posted on FB that Dr. Ibrahim operated on me a few times in the last several years. He was such a wonderful doctor and individual. He was kind, caring, compassonaite and such a consummate professional. I am so upset to hear this. I will miss him terribly...
Debbie Maidman January 10, 2012 at 11:46 PM
A real loss for the community...very well respected at NH...this year has not started off well for NH staff past and present... :(
maureen January 10, 2012 at 11:54 PM
If it were not for Dr. Ibrahim, I would not have attended my daughter's wedding. He went out of his way to get me special help when all else failed. He worked with me to hold off surgery until after her "destination wedding". He was an amazing person and surgeon. My heart goes out to his family.....he will be truly missed. My heart is broken.
Paula Stark January 11, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Dr Ibrahim was a dedicated devoted surgeon who will be surely missed!
Stephen Goeller January 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Rest in peace Dr. Ibrahim. You were one of a kind. A surgeon's surgeon.
cathi dries January 11, 2012 at 12:36 AM
A great loss for the community. A caring and compassionate professional, Dr. Ibrahim will be missed by his patients and colleagues. My condolences to his family.
cynthia shaw January 11, 2012 at 01:04 AM
I am heartbroken to hear of Dr. Ibrahim's death and I am heartbroken for his family and friends. I can only imagine his impact on those close to him considering his impact on me....a patient he saw once or twice a year and operated on a couple of times over the last 11 years. I felt his love for his work and his compassion. He always allayed my fears and made me feel like he really knew me and cared about me.....I felt totally cared for and trusting of this amazing loving man and consummate professional. I will miss him and send my deep condolences to his family.
Debbie McGuinness January 11, 2012 at 01:52 AM
A kind man with a sense of humor and a deeply compassionate nature - he was one of a kind! My sympathy to his family.
Andrea Hartwick January 11, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Dr. Ibrahim operated on me several times, the biggest surgery was for breast cancer. Dr. Richard King had set up my appointment with Dr. Ibrahim. From the moment I met with him I had confidence in anything and everything that he said. He just mad you feel that way about him. He guided me through some very hard times. The respect that I saw from his co-workers at Nyack Hospital was very impressive. His right hand gal Mary in the office along with Candance made it a very well run office/machine. He always said to me: If you have any questions, call me. He didn't want me getting confused with books and the computer she it might not pertain to me.. He loved talking about visiting his grandchildren and talking pictures, which he proudly displayed in his old office. My sincere condolences to his family and fellow co-workers.. I will truly miss him. Rest in Peace. Andrea Hartwick
John January 11, 2012 at 10:22 AM
I am one of his nephews. Dr and Uncle Ibrahim operated on me as well. Not that it's necessary to remember him, but many of us here will always bear a scar on our body's that will remind us of his presence every day we look at it.
hildee January 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Sincere condolences to Dr. Ibrahim's family. He was a true asset to our community and will be missed.
Patti Polirer Beutel January 11, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Dr. Ibrahim has operated on me a few time in the past few years and I last saw him in November. He was always so kind and respectful. What a wonderful man, what a horrible loss. John, I am sorry for your loss. You are right, I will think of your uncle fondly whenever I look at his handiwork. My sincere condolences to the family. Rest in peace Dr. Ibrahim.
lorin January 11, 2012 at 03:35 PM
i have a scar of life across my abdomen that i will wear proudly because of Dr. Ibrahim. His legacy is a reminder that we need to chose LIFE with every breath that we take. RIP. Dr Ibby may your spirit live on forever!!!!
Kim Raso Stewart January 11, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I just changed my plans for Saturday morning to attend the service. Need to be there. My first encounter with Dr. Ibrahim was in 1995 and my surgeon at the time, Dr. Themis Vrachnos, was not availble and I need to have an infected mediport removed from my chest somewhat immediately. A mediport is a port which is surgically implanted into your chest so that you can receive chemotherapy relatively easy and they don't have to do an intravenous line on you everytime you have a chemo treatment. I was being treated for breast cancer after having a mastectomy. The medicine leaked, I was a mess, and it had to come out. I was 41 years old at the time. He removed this thing, in his office, after injecting me with a ton of novocaine. He cut me open, and I could feel him tear/cut this thing out of my chest, but with NO PAIN. It was not fun, but he was terrific and I survived....He then took over Dr. Vrachnos' practice when Dr. Vrachnos retired. He was also a wonderful man, Dr. Vrachnos. Dr. Ibrahim and I had a few more encounters together up at Nyack Hospital and I knew I was always in capable hands. I adored him and want to honor his memory so I am going on Saturday. I will miss him so much.
carol massaro January 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Some people come into our lives and quietly go Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. Good bye my friend.

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