NEW CASTLE — It’s a bit of a blue Christmas for the
obstetrician who loves Elvis Presley.
Dr. Pek Teh has delivered his last baby — more than 7,000 — in a
career that goes back to 1974 and includes 34 years in New Castle.
Even he jokes that the king has left the building — a phrase that’s
often associated with Elvis.
All joking matters aside, three generations of women in the Crespo
family are forever grateful for Teh.
Tammie Eversole of Wampum credits Teh for performing surgery to allow
her to have healthy pregnancies.
The result — the birth of two children.
One of them, her daughter, Terra Palumbo, also of Wampum, is thrilled
that her daughter, Harper, is a “Christmas baby” born Dec. 4, 2012,
and delivered by Teh at Jameson Hospital. And that makes a fourth
generation of the family under his watch.
Rose Crespo — Palumbo’s grandmother and Eversole’s mother — was the
first of the three who was a patient of Teh.
This moment is bittersweet for the physician who quickly stopped
thinking about the difficulty of getting up at 3 or 4 a.m. once he
held a newborn for the first time.
“I stopped being grumpy and forgot everything,” Teh said.
That feeling is akin to a mother forgetting her labor pains as soon as
the baby is born.
“I love to see the babies,” he explained.” They are so beautiful, so
cute, so innocent.”
Then, his voice cracked for a moment recalling all the memories.
Teh’s reassurances went a long way.
About a week before Palumbo was due, Teh was on vacation. Because she
was feeling nervous and scared, Teh called from Florida to put her
mind at rest.
Eversole and thousands of other appreciative mothers won’t forget
Teh’s dedication, either.
After two miscarriages by Eversole — one of which was twins — more
than 30 years ago, Teh diagnosed a unique problem after her mother
suggested she consult with the physician. Eversole, who is a
registered nurse, had a split uterus, which meant there was a wall
built in the middle of the uterus that inhibited proper growth of
Teh performed a procedure called a metroplasty to remove the wall and
repair the abnormality.
It was a success and she beat the odds. Eversole and her husband,
Scott, have a son, Shawn, who is 29. Palumbo is 25. And Eversole has
Accurate diagnosis was the foundation of her happy endings.
“I wouldn’t be here,” Palumbo said. “He is wonderful to have as a
doctor. He was so attentive to me and my husband, and he’s so quirky
and funny. I looked forward to appointments.”
There are many others who have several generations in the family
seeking Teh’s medical services.
Eversole also highly respects Teh as a person.
“We love him and I hold him in the highest regard for his skills,” she
said. “He has a big heart as a physician.”
His sense of humor also extends to his age.
“I’m 29,” he chuckled. Then he modified it to say, “I’m 66 plus.”
Teh will continue to provide gynecology services. And he will always
have his pager.
Knowing his adoration of the King, Palumbo asked Teh to sing Elvis to
her in the delivery room.
That gesture put Palumbo’s mind at ease.
“He calmed me and helped me focus. He was amazing.”
She off-handedly told Teh he couldn’t retire in case she plans to have
any more children.
In his nearly 40 years of delivering babies in this area, Teh said
more were born from the mid 1970s to mid-1990s; then the rate slowed
While nothing has changed in the way babies are born, one significant
difference is the number of young mothers.
In Canton, Teh delivered a baby to a 12-year-old.
“The mother’s age has definitely gotten younger.”
What he will miss most is the bond he made with mothers and their
“A three-year-old told me, ‘I love you,’ ” Teh said. “Patients tell me
they love me and I cry. I love my profession.”
His calming influence with little ones has also caused patients to
tell him he should be in pediatrics, too.
THE END OF AN ERA
A native of Malaysia, Teh graduated from Taipei Medical College,
Taiwan. His internship in obstetrics and gynecology was at Barberton
Citizens Hospital, Barberton, Ohio, and his residency in that
specialty was at Aultman Hospital in Canton. Before coming to New
Castle, he spent one year at Youngstown’s Northside Hospitalfrom 1978
The physician said he was inspired to specialize in gynecology and
obstetrics from a professor in Taiwan.
When he arrived in New Castle in 1979, he joined the practice of
doctors French, Wright and Ginsberg before starting his own practice
Dr. Sonia Paneser and Dr. Amy Shannon will take over the obstetrics
portion of Teh’s practice, which will be called JHS Obstetrics and
Teh and his wife, JyHwa, have two sons, Eng Kat and Eng Khan, and two
He credits his wife for playing a large role in raising the children
because of his unusual hours.
“My wife is a fantastic woman.”
It was a difficult decision to stop delivering babies, Teh said, and
he made it with mixed emotions.
“I will miss holding all the babies in my hands but the happy part is
there will be no more 2 and 3 a.m. emergency room calls.”
He still receives accolades from mothers.
“The other day at church, I talked to someone who said, ‘He delivered
my son 21 years ago.’ ”
The age may change with each story that is told, but those tales
always heap praise.
Eversole considers it a marvel that she has a family.
“He changed my life. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have two kids
and three grandchildren.”
Teh said he is has been blessed to witness the most beautiful moment
when a newborn enters the world.
His voice broke again.
“That’s been my reward — seeing these babies being born. They’re all
beautiful in my eyes.”
He was there for the beginning of thousands of lives. That’s a miracle
at Christmas and any time of year.
And during this season, what could be more perfect as an encore Elvis
presentation than “Merry Christmas, Baby?”