Pediatrician and musician, Dr. Paul Erick Hyman, passed away August 7th after a lengthy illness complicated by COVID 19. A native of Hartford, Connecticut, he relocated to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and became Departmental Chair of the Gastroenterology Department at New Orleans Children’s Hospital.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Arnold and Rose Hyman and his first wife, Beverly Rosen Hyman. He is survived by his spouse and music partner, Vali Talbot; his daughter Samantha Hyman and granddaughter Tiferet who live in Jerusalem, Israel; brother, Martin Hyman of Hamden, Connecticut; niece, Esmerelda Ariel Hyman and nephews, Dylan, Connor and Evan Hyman of New York.
Dr. Hyman was an American pioneer in the subspecialty, Pediatric Neuro-Gastroenterology. Over the years, he trained many young physicians in this specialty, which takes a gestalt approach to treating children with functional gastric issues and pain. He realized that a great percentage of children with gastric pain that was not the result of a treatable disease could be healed and helped by addressing the “brain/gut” connection with psychological and behavioral management therapy. When first presented in the 1980s, his methods were considered unusual. But as the physicians he trained went out and joined other clinics and hospitals, there were soon Pediatric Neuro-Gastroenterologists in almost every major medical center. This year he was recognized by his peers and awarded The NASPAGAM Distinguished Service Award for a Lifetime of Excellent Service.
He graduated from medical school at the University of Connecticut, was a Pediatric House officer at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, a Staff Fellow at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, at Harbor-UCLA, Director of the Pediatric Gastrointestinal Motility at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA, and Chief of Gastroenterology at the University of Kansas Children’s Hospital before coming to New Orleans Children’s Hospital in 2006.
Dr. Hyman’s first passion was healing children, but his second passion was music. He was a blues harmonica player and in high school was the lead singer in a rock band. Over the past six years he went from blues to traditional Irish Music, forming with his wife, Vali, and his brother, Martin, an Irish band named Irish Enough. Irish Enough was the only Jewish Irish band in the state. They enjoyed performing in the French Quarter at The Kerry Irish Pub and at other private functions.
He was interred at the Congregation Beth Israel Cemetery. Memorials can be made to New Orleans Children’s Hospital or the Chabad Center of Metairie.
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