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C.A.P. Peters II, M.D.

Died: July 4, 1990

On graduating, Cappy had no idea how he wanted to use his major in Asian studies, so for the next six years, he explored various avenues to discover his calling. He almost entered divinity school, worked as a grain trader for Cargill, and was a corporate manager for Cargill and W.R. Grace & Company.

Cappy finally decided he belonged in medicine. After completing pre-med studies at the University of Massachusetts, he attended medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his M.D. in 1979 at the age of 36. He was then matched with a residency program at the Williamsport Hospital in Williamsport, PA. There he met Gayle, his future wife, who was a registered nurse at the same hospital. They married in January 1981. Their son, Drew, was born in 1984; and in 1987 Cappy and Gayle adopted their daughter, Julia, from South Korea.

Following residency and board certification, Cappy specialized in emergency medicine and became associate director of Emergency Services and Convenient Care Centers for Divine Providence Hospital in Williamsport, PA. Cappy did not take well to the increasing emphasis on getting patients in and out as soon as possible and meeting a “quota” of how many to see each hour. He wanted time to talk with his patients and look for other problems less obvious than the ones that originally brought them to the ER. This resulted in a large stack of charts piling up on the ER desk and often falling over — an event that was jokingly dubbed by the other employees as “Cap-sizing.”

Drawing on his experience as a corporate manager, plus his innate qualities, Cappy knew how to deal well with people and was loved by all the employees in the hospital. Insisting that everyone call him Cap rather than Dr. Peters, he treated all employees in the hospital as equal members of the health care team. The antithesis of the know-it-all doctor, he always asked nurses for their advice and opinions. He knew they spent more time with the patients and had more experience than he.

As at Yale, Cappy was known as “quite a character,” always the life of the party with his witty dry humor and his ability to speak knowledgeably on almost any topic. His intellect was balanced by kindness and sensitivity.

Cappy died suddenly and unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on July 4, 1990. His passing elicited an outpouring of grateful recollections from friends, coworkers, and former patients. To honor Cappy, Gayle established the Cap Peters Scholarship Award, which is given to the resident who has shown the greatest respect and collegiality to the entire health care team. Rather than being selected by the faculty, the recipient is selected by a vote of the auxiliary department employees. This award perpetuates Cappy’s determination to instill in residents the importance of recognizing everyone in the health care system as an integral part of the team.

Marc Janes remembers:

Cappy was a giant in stature, all five foot six. I first met him at 4 a.m. when he crawled through the window from outside our dorm room in September. With his thick Texas accent, he asked, “Where y’all from?” Then he picked at my answer: “Pittsburgh… Pittsburgh… That’s just northeast of Houston, isn’t it?” Cap delighted, enthused, challenged, cared, considered, and affirmed. He elevated those around him. I still miss him dearly.