Friday, July 2, 2010

Dr. Peter Choi, MD PhD

Dr. Peter Choi passed away on June 28, 2010 in a tragic hiking accident in the Mason Lake area of the Cascade range. Born on October 18, 1971 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit to Yung-In and Sohee Choi, Peter grew up in Ludington, Michigan where he first discovered his love of the outdoors. Peter graduated from Huron High School in Ann Arbor, establishing life long friendships and a passion for all University of Michigan sports.

Peter completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell University, followed by an MD/PhD program at Loyola University in Chicago. Dr. Choi then joined the Otolaryngology residency program at the University of Washington, where he continually proved himself to be a very skilled surgeon with a passion for helping his patients and an abiding love of learning. He forged many deep friendships during his residency, and was known for his integrity, quick wit, and his sense of commitment to his work. He spent time honing his abilities at Harborview, Seattle Children's Hospital, the UW Medical Center and the Seattle VA Hospital. It was also during this time that Peter got his loyal corgi Ernie, who was a great source of relaxation and security for him through the years.

In 2008, Peter was the victim of an attack in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle that left him in a coma with a severe traumatic brain injury. Through the dedicated work of his colleagues at Harborview his life was saved, and he began the long road to recovery. His family and friends were constantly by his side as he moved through the difficult months of surgeries and physical therapy that led to his miraculously full recovery. His intense drive and dedication served him well as he fought his way back to full health and ability, always supported by his loving family.

Peter's passion for using his skills to help those that he could extended beyond the Seattle area. In 2009 he joined with the Aloha Medical Mission and travelled to Bohol in the Philippines to do volunteer surgeries for the local people who have little access to modern medical facilities. Following this, he had worked at the Guthrie Clinic in Pennsylvania for the past three months, making more friendships and always continuing to learn and grow as a surgeon.

Peter passed his boards in May of this year, and was very excited to start his fellowship at Children's Hospital on July first. Before he embarked on this next step of his journey through life, he had been planning for months to take a short camping trip with Ernie to relax and enjoy the beautiful Cascade range that he loved.

Peter also had a passion for music, both in appreciation of many various styles and as a skilled musician himself. Throughout his life he played the piano, cello, and guitar, and he enjoyed going to the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra and other concerts whenever he could. His friends remember him as the life of the party; always quick with a joke, a karaoke song, or a passionate criticism of any sports referee ruling against his teams. His love of learning and of life will be deeply missed by all who knew him before his life was so suddenly and unexpectedly cut far too short.

Loving brother, faithful son, loyal friend, and passionate surgeon, Dr. Peter Choi is survived by his younger siblings Paul and Amy, and by his parents, Yung-In and Sohee Choi.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you donate in his honor to a fund being set up in his name to support the Otolaryngology residency program at the University of Washington.
Checks made out to the "Dr. Peter Choi Fund for the Otolaryngology Resident Program" can be sent, addressed to "In Memory of Dr. Peter Choi" or "Dr. Peter Choi Fund for Otolaryngology Resident Program" at Box 358045, Seattle, WA 98195-8045

17 comments:

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  2. Peter and I started internship together, and halfway through the year, my car was stolen and totaled. I had to take taxi's/rent a car for 6 months before I could get a new car. When Peter found out I was doing this, he would let me use his sweet, white 3000GT whenever he had a vacation and was leaving town. He was a generous, kind and funny man. Rest in Peace, Dr. Peter Choi, you will be missed!

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  3. We will miss Peter. His young and passionate soul was taken from us much too soon. We pray and know that he is in a good place now. We send our thoughts, prayers, love and condolances to Uncle and Auntie Choi, Paul and Amy.

    Love,

    Joon Mo, Judy, Nicholas, Dylan and Madison Khang

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  4. My first memory of meeting Peter was at a BBQ that Elliott threw at the Edgewater. We were sitting out on on the dock and Peter would hold Ernie up in the air and make him stretch out like a long hot dog. Peter had a smile on his face and stories to tell that would make everyone laugh. You will be dearly missed, Peter.

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  5. Peter was one of the most conscientious residents I have ever worked with. He was a role model of dedication. In the OR he was perpetually in a good mood and fun to work with, whether tech, nurse, or doctor. I was with Peter when he purchased that Korean War Vet hat pictured above at the VA hospital, just one example of his funny sense of humor. He also brought me to my first 18 hole game of golf and was happy to lend me some old clubs... for over a year. He will be greatly missed.

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  7. Peter was a good friend of mine in graduate school. He took me under his wing when I came to his lab in my first year. Peter was brilliant, funny, patient, and kind. He will be sorely missed.

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  8. Pete was one of a kind. Witty, funny, the life of the party yet warm, sincere and kind. Smart, dedicated, ambitious yet grounded and humble. I am a better person for having known Pete. I am blessed to be able to call him my friend for the last 14 years. My deepest condolences to his family. He will be missed by all who knew him. His memory will always warm my heart and bring a smile to my face.

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  9. I am so sorry to hear of Dr. Peter's tragic death. The article in the Ludington Daily News was very nice and honored Peter. Many of us here in Ludington who had Peter, Paul or Amy in school remember the wonderful Choi family. Your friends have been talking of you with sincere sympathy and recalling fond memories of your family. This blog is wonderful. I felt the pride and love of his family and friends as I read the blog and the posted comments. I fondly remember all of you and yes, I still have the quilt Amy's class made me when she was in my 4th grade class at Franklin! I enjoyed communicating with Amy years after you moved, you are a wonderful person and always had that sweet smile! And, of course I remember you too Paul, with your quick wit and fun personality! Dr. Choi, SoHee, Amy and Paul, my prayers are with you as you miss your loving son and brother.
    Love, Cindy Hill ("Miss Beach")

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  10. I had the great pleasure of working with Peter's dad, Dr Yung-In Choi at Joslin Diabetes Center @ UCI and I know how very proud he and SoHee were of Peter , Amy and Paul. I can't even imagine the devastation they feel with the loss of Peter. I am sure the entire family will find the strength in each other...and seek comfort in the many accomplishments of their clearly loved son. My deepest, most sincere condolences to Dr Yung-In , SoHee, Amy and Paul.
    My heartfelt sympathy,
    Susan Izzo

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  11. Dr. Choi consulted on my case after I saw a very uncaring resident at HMC. I have been followed for a great many years for complex nasal sinus disease and he was wonderful; he was kind, sensitive, and paid attention to my case. I have had too many residents and attendings that wanted to immediately plunge into the most invasive procedures even though I have a very responsible job, Dr. Choi understood my dilemma in trying to balance my life. I was so sorry to hear about his assault, I regret that his attacker was never brought to justice.

    I hope that his family and friends have found some peace with his passing.

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  12. Sorry to hear about Peter. I'm sure that he was up many nights dealing with facial trauma then had to prepare for some presentation or talk. Very tragic to see that the journey has been cut so close to finishing his training.

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  13. Both my husband and I attended Loyola medical school with Peter. I found the "in memorium" Loyola Alumni newsletter today with the news that he had passed away. Peter was a very fun-loving guy and we have fond memories of Peter. We're so saddened to hear of his passing. Our deepest condolences to his family, may he rest in peace.

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  14. I Just would like to say that I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Choi. He did a procedure on my 5 yr old son and did a wonderful job. My son was so cranky and upset at his check up, but when we left his appointment he had him laughing and in a very good mood. You will be missed, you have put smiles on many faces RIP DR. Choi

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  15. Peter,Dr.Choi. I am very sad that you are gone forever. I have known you for short time and I only met your loyal nice dog, Ernie once. I remember you still had same nice smile even after you had terrible attack.
    You were so excited to get back to your job...
    Thank you so much to let me cut your hair and it was very nice to meet you and Ernie.
    You will be missed very much. I never forget you nice warm smile.

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  16. I met Peter (and Minku - hello!) while working as a RN at Harborview Medical Center. Peter was a nice man with a warm smile and I was lucky to have worked with him.

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  17. I'm so late to post here, but only now found this blog. Dr. Choi came into our lives at a difficult time- my Mother was recovering from a botched oral procedure done by another doctor. With so little faith after that experience, we were glad to now be in the capable, caring hands of the ENT team at UW. Dr. Futran and Dr. Choi made hope possible again by delivering a successful bone transplant after the first failed attempt. During her lengthy recovery and many follow up visits, Dr. Choi was always there with a warm smile, caring hands and trademark sense of humor. My Mom enjoyed him very much. We all did. My Mother passed away about six months before his tragic accident. I have little doubt she was there to greet him with a big hug for all he did for her. Thank you, Dr. Choi for being a part of our lives. You will always be remembered fondly. Our condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

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