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Department Remembers Neurologist Dr. Peter Y Kim

Neurologist Dr. Peter Y Kim was a well-known and well-loved figure to many doctors, residents and patients in our department. We are saddened to share that Dr. Kim, an esteemed expert and friend to many, passed away on December 5, 2017.

Dr. Kim was a valued colleague to our neurosurgeons and a trusted and caring neurologist to many of our patients. An associate professor of neurology, he had been at Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital since his residency in 1995, and over the years he educated new residents in both neurology and neurosurgery.

It is not unusual for patients to need to consult with both a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. But it is exceptional for a group of neurosurgeons and a neurologist to have a solid collaboration of such long standing. Knowing and trusting Dr. Kim’s outstanding clinical skills, doctors in the Department of Neurosurgery very often sent patients to Dr. Kim for consultation.

Dr. Michael Sisti is one of the neurosurgeons in our department who enjoyed a close collaboration with Dr. Kim.

“He was an M.D./Ph.D., and that was the least important thing about him. He was a brilliant doctor and took great care of patients. He was just a terrific human being. I sent all my most difficult neurological problems to him, and he basically solved every single one. He did it in the nicest, kindest, most gentle way.

“I usually would see him standing in my doorway with a funny smirk on his face, and he’d say, ‘You know that patient with the problem you thought I would never figure out the answer to? I figured it out.’ Then he’d kind of shuffle in and sit down in the chair across from my desk and go over all the details.”

Dr. Kim’s colleague and friend, neurologist Dr. J. Kirk Roberts, puts it this way: “Peter Kim knew the science of medicine and also the art.

“A patient of his just came in for a follow-up appointment and broke into tears at the news,” says Dr. Roberts. “She commented, ‘Dr. Kim talked to me as a person. Not just as a doctor talking to a patient, but as a person.’ This is what made him a great doctor and a favorite of his patients and referring physicians.”

“I think we’re going to see a lot of [saddened patients],” says Dr. Sisti. And Dr. Kim’s colleagues are deeply saddened as well. “That we’ll never see him again is really painful. I’m glad I knew him. I’m glad I had the opportunity to work with him. It was a privilege to call him a colleague and a friend. He was very close to many people in this department, not just professionally, but personally. Everybody loved Peter Kim—his friends, his colleagues, his patients, the office staff. He was a special person, and he will be greatly missed.”

The neurology department has set up a fund to establish an annual lecture in Dr. Kim’s honor. Each year, in a series named for Dr. Kim, they will invite a different speaker of national prominence to speak on a topic in neurology. Donations to the fund can be sent to

Columbia University Medical Center
Office of Development
Attn: Matt Reals
516 West 168th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10032.

Please make checks payable to “the Trustees of Columbia University” and indicate IMO Dr. Peter Kim/Lectureship on the memo line.

Dr. Kim is remembered as a valued colleague, a well-liked mentor, an avid golfer, a doctor who made a difference in people’s lives—and a friend. Our deepest condolences to everyone touched by his passing.

patient journey

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