‘HOOSIERS WE’VE LOST’: Physician dies in hospital where he served

Editor’s note: This is one of a continuing online series of profiles of the more than 12,000 Hoosiers who have died from COVID-19. The stories are from 12 Indiana newspapers, including The Republic, who collaborated to create the collection to highlight the tremendous loss that the pandemic has created. The series appears daily at therepublic.com.

Name: Peter Yu

City/Town: South Bend

Age: 63

Died: Oct. 31

On Oct. 20, Dr. Peter L. Yu was doing what he had done for three decades at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, making rounds to see patients, when he fainted.

Taken to the emergency room, the initial test for COVID-19 came back negative as he was admitted to the care of his colleagues.

On the next day, a second test came back positive. But Yu told an old classmate from medical school on the phone, “I’ll be out of here soon.”

His condition wavered. Pneumonia took grip. So did kidney failure from his diabetes and hypertension. He seemed to improve, then suddenly declined again. He died having never left the hospital complex.

“Dr. Yu was a wonderful physician who continually stepped up to help our community and cared deeply about his patients,” said Dr. Dale Patterson, Memorial’s vice president of medical affairs. “He will be greatly missed. ”

Yu was a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Aside from Memorial, he was a consulting doctor at four local nursing homes. He also had owned rehab medicine clinics in South Bend and Merrillville.

Born in the Philippines, Yu moved with his parents to Japan, where he resided for almost 10 years before returning to the Philippines. There he finished high school and enrolled in and graduated from medical school at the University of Santo Tomas in 1979, at just 22 years old.

He was the youngest in his graduating class, a group that he stayed close to over the past four decades, said classmate and close friend, Dr. Greg Tan, who is a cardiologist in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Locally, Yu was a regular at the noon Sunday Mass at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, where he dressed in a suit and tie. He was deeply faithful and proud to serve as a lector, said the Rev. Bill Schooler.

“He would never brag about anything,” Schooler said, noting that he became pastor at the church 20 years ago, when Yu was already a parishioner. “He was very humble about his ministry. He never brought attention to himself.”

Yu had settled in the South Bend area after completing his residency at the University of Alabama. He would become a leader on several Filipino boards, including a local Filipino-American society.

When he died, he was president of the foundation for his medical school’s alumni association.

He also went on medical mission trips to the Philippines.

“He had a big heart for people going through hard times and for the poor,” Tan said.

— Contributed by the South Bend Tribune