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Pediatrician, musician Dr. Paul Erick Hyman dies on Aug. 7

PAUL ERICK HYMAN, M.D., a pediatrician and highly regarded musician, passed away from complications of COVID-19 on August 7, 2020 ,following a lengthy illness.

Dr. Hyman, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, relocated to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and became departmental chair of the Gastroenterology Department at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

Predeceased by his first wife, Beverly Rosen Hyman, he is survived by his spouse and music partner, Vali Talbot; his daughter Samantha Hyman, his brother, Martin Hyman of Hamden, Connecticut and a granddaughter.

He was considered a pioneer in his subspecialty field of Pediatric Neuro-Gastroenterology and trained many young physicians over the years in the specialty, which takes a gestalt approach to treating children with functional gastric issues and pain.

Dr. Hyman realized a great percentage of children with gastric pain 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 he first presented his theory in the 1980s, his methods were considered unusual. However, 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.  He was recognized in 2020 by his peers and awarded The NASPAGAM Distinguished Service Award for a Lifetime of Excellent Service.

A graduate from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Hyman was a Pediatric House officer at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, a Staff Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. He was also the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, at Harbor-UCLA, the director of the Pediatric Gastrointestinal Motility at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, CA. and an associate professor of Pediatrics at UCLA. Before coming to New Orleans in 2006, Dr. Hyman was the Chief of Gastroenterology at the University of Kansas Children’s Hospital.

While Hyman’s first passion was healing children, his second 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, performing with his wife, Vali, and his brother, Martin, in 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 made appearances at other private functions.

A private graveside service was conducted by Rabbi Mendel Ceitlin of the Gerson Katz Chabad Center of Metairie. Dr. Hyman was interred at the (New) Congregation Beth Israel Cemetery, 4000 Elysian Fields Avenue on Monday, August 10.

Memorial donations are suggested to to New Orleans Children’s Hospital of New Orleans or the Chabad Center of Metairie.

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