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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK: Dr. Peter Rhee, Surgeon Overseeing The Care Of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

January 10th, 2011 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: Dr. Peter Rhee

Hails from: Pennsylvania, originally

Occupation: 24 year Navy Veteran and Military Surgeon, Chief of Trauma at the University Medical Center in Tucson

Let’s step away for a moment from the finger-pointing that’s ensued from all sides since the shooting in Tucson and appreciate this: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head, and the others injured at Giffords’ political event who were also admitted to Tucson’s University Medical Center’s trauma unit have, at the very least, been in excellent hands since Saturday’s tragedy. Today, the LA Times profiled Dr. Peter Rhee, chief of trauma at UMC, who is overseeing the care of those injured in the shooting and has become an instantly recognizable face after giving updates on the Congresswoman’s condition to the media over the weekend and describing his medical team as “optimistic” about her recovery.

The LA Times reveals that Rhee, a 24 year Navy veteran, spent five years as the director of the Navy Trauma Training Center at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he “typically would treat 30 gunshot wounds a day.” The profile also notes that he served two deployments–one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq–as a military surgeon, treating “hundreds and hundreds” of battlefield injuries. In typical Hardass Asian-style, Rhee describes his time in Arizona, by comparison, thusly:

“Tucson is actually, for a trauma surgeon, very embarrassing and pathetic because violence is almost nonexistent. I know everyone in the country thinks World War III is going on in Arizona, but it’s probably still the nicest place I can think of to live.”

We don’t know about “nicest place,” but today you could call Arizona a fortunate one–for being able to count Dr. Rhee as one of its own.

[LA Times: Giffords' surgeon trained on the battlefield]

[photo by Chris Carlson/The Associated Press via LA Times]

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