Peter Imre Antal Szilagyi

Peter Imre Antal Szilagyi

Died September 8, 2001

Peter was born in Budapest and prepared for Yale at Chemical Technicum, Budapest, and Bishop’s Stortford and Leicester Colleges, England. At Yale he majored in intensive chemistry, was a member of Berzelius and held Yale Gift and H.K. Porter Scholarships. Peter was captain of the water polo team, earning a major Y for that endeavor while also swimming with the varsity and playing junior varsity football.

Peter graduated from Cornell University Medical College in 1970 and was licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York in 1971.

His good friend and colleague, Alexander F. Deluca, M.D., remembers: “ I closed his medical practice, which I ran for him during his illness, from about October 2000 to about August 2001, on East 85th Street in NYC. Peter and I had been close for decades. He was one of the doctors-inrecovery who was kind to me and nursed me along when I first got sober myself circa 1986. He operated and led a free recovery group for physicians and nurses for all the years I knew him. He was also my personal physician for many years, and he was, though my senior in every way, my employee when I was medical director at the Smithers Addiction Treatment and Research Center in NYC circa 1990s. When I was so rudely fired from (Smithers)…Peter contacted me and told me he had cancer and invited me to take over his medical office practice which was mostly psychopharmacology, addiction medicine, outpatient detoxification, and chronic opioid therapy for chronic pain. He was the best all around physician I have ever met – brilliant, hard working and compassionate – truly a ‘doctor’s doctor.’ He was also courageous, welcoming patients who were difficult or complicated whom other physicians shunned.”

Peter died on September 8, 2001 as the result of complications from lung cancer.

The November/December 2002 newsletter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine reported: “(t)he (Ruth Fox Memorial Endowment) of ASAM has received a very generous bequest of $200,000 from the estate of Peter I.A. Szilagyi, M.D….Dr. Szilagyi, a long-time member of ASAM and a generous donor, named the Endowment in his will, which we learned only after his passing.”

Willem Cronje remembers:
Peter was our hero! Member of Skull and Bones, and wildly popular. Regaled us with stories of the Hungarian resistance to Russia.

Joseph Altschuler remembers:
What a colorful guy Peter was – a hero of the Hungarian Revolution from 1956 and a true lady’s man on the JE/Yale campus. How could I or anyone else not remember with a smile the times when a phalanx of his JE mates would have open umbrellas to conceal the young lady with Peter and Peter as we ushered them safely from the watchful eyes of the derby wearing campus police. Peter was amazing. He became an excellent physician and like many of our classmates was gone long before his time.

Larry Taylor remembers:
The first classmate I met at JE was Peter in early September 1962. He was sitting in his bedroom and listening to jazz on his quite elaborate radio while gazing out at the courtyard. He soon introduced me to Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis, a major change from rock and roll and folk music. I still think of him when I listen to jazz.