A Breath of Fresh Air–Phil Sheridan Helps Thousands of Kids Cope with Asthma

Most doctors want to avoid going to court—but not Phil Sheridan of Winnetka.

A few years ago, the critical care pulmonologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem had a woman patient who was under arrest when she arrived in the ER in severe condition. The authorities had ordered her transfer to the county hospital, but Sheridan strongly felt that she needed to stay in his care.

“She had two kids at home, and she might have died. I didn’t think that was right,” he recalls.

So he went in front of a judge and secured a court order to have the woman released under his care. Then, he got her a lawyer.

It’s just one example of the dedication to service and excellence that has driven Sheridan all his life, and which led him to co-found a nonprofit, the Mobile C.A.R.E. Foundation, that has improved the lives of thousands of children in underserved neighborhoods of Chicago.

“Everybody deserves good medical care. Treat everybody the way you’d want yourself and your family to be treated,” he says. He learned this rule from his father, a surgeon, whom he describes as his hero.

His father inspired him by doing missionary work in Africa and Sheridan followed that lead by heading to Nigeria and South Africa on missions during medical school and his residency.

Having seen the need abroad made him more aware of the need at home. In 1998, he cofounded Mobile C.A.R.E., which provides free treatment to children with asthma on Chicago’s West and South sides. Asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness and the incidence rate in Chicago exceeds the national average.

To combat the disease, which is the number one reason for ER visits and hospital stays for kids, the organization has three Winnebagos that serve as moving doctor’s offices, parking outside 50 different schools to see patients.

If you think he sounds sweet already, you haven’t tasted the chocolate fudge sauce he’s famous for making every holiday season, in huge vats, with the help of his seven children. He’s known for gifting it to numerous hospital and office employees, as well as the patients he sees on house calls.

Even if he’s not helping one of us or someone we know with asthma or other lung diseases, we can all breathe easier knowing that Phil Sheridan is part of our North Shore community.

To learn more about or donate to the Mobile C.A.R.E. Foundation, visit mobilecarefoundation.org.