Corpus Christi physician known for heart health crusade dies at 81

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Corpus Christi physician known
for heart health crusade dies at 81

Jose E. Antoni, M.D. | Dec. 12, 1926 - Sept. 22, 2008

TAFP life member Jose E. Antoni, M.D., died of cancer on Sept. 22, 2008 at the age of 81. “Dr. Tony,” longtime Corpus Christi family physician, is known for his “second life” after he survived a heart attack in March 1967. He spent the next 41 years training others how to save lives, especially how to operate the device that had saved his, a defibrillator, through an American Heart Association program called Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

Antoni worked in private practice in surgery and family medicine for 17 years before Everett Holt, M.D., who was organizing a family medicine residency program at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital – Corpus Christi Memorial, convinced him to join academia. Antoni spent the next 14 years as the assistant director of the residency program before resigning in 1992 to spend more time with his family. In the following years, he continued to teach family medicine residents as a clinical professor.

“Dr. Antoni was of tremendous help in developing the residency program into one with an atmosphere of collegial learning,” Holt wrote in a letter to TAFP. “He was an excellent teacher—both at the bedside and in the lecture hall. By his example of treating and relating to patients, he molded the residents into family physicians of which we were proud.”

In addition to his membership in TAFP and AAFP, Antoni was an active member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of TAFP, served in many leadership roles within the Nueces County Medical Society, and helped establish the Nueces County Advanced Cardiac Life Support Training Center and the Nueces County Medical Education Foundation.

He was awarded a medical degree from Universidad de Santo Domingo Medical School in the Dominican Republic, completed a rotating internship at St. Joseph Hospital in Patterson, N.J., and completed one year of residency in surgery at Erlanger Hospital and three years of residency at Campbell Clinic in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Antoni is survived by his wife, Martha; children, Giselle, James and Michelle; and a grandchild.