Spring 2003 Pine Crest Previews

From art, architecture and education to
medicine and fishing, South Florida alumni
share their stories of life after graduation
By Jennifer Burnstein

Peter Simon, M.D.
Reshaping Lives

Imagine being able boost someone's self-confidence, correct physical deformities and repair a badly damaged body, using your finely tuned skills, agile hands and focused attention. It's a rewarding career that Peter Simon M.D. enjoys as Chief of Plastic Surgery at North Ridge Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

As a plastic surgeon, attention to detail and the perseverance to strive for perfection are critical to his success. Peter says he learned about these qualities from teacher Tony Jaswinski while a student at Pine Crest. "His assignments always made us really focus on every detail of what we were reading. And he pushed us to be better, to do better until we'd achieved the best that we possibly could be," Peter says.

After graduating as valedictorian of his Pine Crest class, the drive to succeed helped Peter through the following 17 years of schooling. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Florida, completed medical school at the University of Miami, finished several residencies and internships, and studied for the American Board of Plastic Surgery boards.

His intensive study and practical experience were put to the test early in his career with one of first patients, in fact. "He had burns on 60 percent of his body, and he had an axe cut on his face. I was able to reattach five fingers, realign facial fractures with tiny plates and screws and perform extensive skin grafting," Peter recalls. Against the odds, his patient lived through the surgery and lengthy recovery, strengthening Peter's resolve in knowing that he'd made the right decision to pursue such a rewarding career.

"When I graduated from Pine Crest I knew I wanted to be a doctor. A doctor who did a lot of cleft reconstruction got me interested in plastic surgery. I really enjoyed the sewing aspect of the profession, and the fact that it combines artistry and science," Peter says. The ability to combine "artistry and science," is certainly a good skill to have when performing liposuction, breast reconstructions and enlargements, face and eyelid work, and many other life-changing plastic surgeries on patients, who include several well-known celebrities.

Although he has lived in many other cities throughout the United States he says South Florida is "paradise" and was happy to settle here, close to his parents and brothers who are also Pine Crest alumni and doctors. He savors many memories of his travels through European countries such as Turkey, Greece, England, Switzerland, France and Italy. During a vacation in Asia, which included visits to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, he recalls being impressed by Xian near Beijing, China, where he toured a site with 40,000 buried terra cotta soldiers surrounding the tomb of the first emperor of China.

Peter's dedication has helped him shape an enjoyable life amid family, friends and a successful, satisfying career. And, it's allowed him the opportunity to shape others' lives, too.

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To schedule an appointment for a free cosmetic consultation with Dr. Simon, please call (954) 568-1010