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C. Everett Koop

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C. Everett Koop
13th Surgeon General of the United States
In office
January 21, 1982 – October 1, 1989
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byEdward Brandt (Acting)
Succeeded byJames Mason (Acting)
Personal details
Charles Everett Koop

(1916-10-14)October 14, 1916
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 25, 2013(2013-02-25) (aged 96)
Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Flanagan (1938–2007)
Cora Hogue (2010–2013)
EducationDartmouth College (BA)
Cornell University (MD)
University of Pennsylvania (DSc)

Charles Everett Koop (October 14, 1916 – February 25, 2013) was an American physician who became well known as a pediatric surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He was an early name in today's pediatric surgery. He then served as the Surgeon General of the United States and as vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps from 1982 to 1989, under President Ronald Reagan.

He was thought of as the first "celebrity Surgeon General",[1] because he is the first Surgeon General to receive an Emmy Award, and remains the only Surgeon General to have done so.[2] Koop was also called Chick Koop by some of his friends.

Views[change | change source]

Koop with Hillary Clinton, November 1993

Today Koop is well known for four parts of his work:

  • Abortion: Though Koop did not think abortion was right due to his religion, he did not say anything as to whether abortions done by very skilled medical doctors were bad for the health of women who the abortions were being done on.
  • Tobacco: In 1984 he wrote that nicotine has an addictiveness like that of heroin or cocaine. People did not think that Koop would say something like this, mainly people who thought he would stay with the views his office had on tobacco products. He also wanted a warning to be mentioned on all cigarette packs, although some of these warnings were there since 1965.
  • AIDS: Koop was Surgeon General when AIDS became well known. He wrote the official U.S. policy for AIDS and soon after mailed AIDS information to every U.S. house. Gays and people who supported them were not happy with how Koop noted gay sex as one of the most likely ways to catch the disease, but Koop would not say he was sorry as he thought gay sex was the greatest risk of getting AIDS.[3] He also did not fare well with people who once supported him because Koop thought that schools should teach about sex early on, and note how to use condoms the right way to stop AIDS from spreading. There were also problems with how Koop's office didn't try hard to make a cure for AIDS, making people think his office was only making the public know about AIDS.
  • Baby Doe and the Rights of Handicapped Children: In April 1982, a child born in Bloomington, Indiana was diagnosed with Down syndrome as well as problems related to the esophagus. Six days later, after physicians were not sure whether to treat the baby or let him die, the baby died, having never gotten his esophagus problems fixed. Baby Doe, as he would be known, became a symbol for children born with birth defects and other problems. Although Koop did not have a role in the case at first, he had an interest in it. When he worked in Philadelphia, Koop and many others worked on 475 babies with problems over 35 years, with ones who lived on the rise. It is due to this work that he fought hard to protect newborns that had problems.

Personality[change | change source]

These four views, along with Koop's personality and use of the media, made the office of Surgeon General more well known than it was before. He is the first Surgeon General to be the subject of a well known song – "Promiscuous", by Frank Zappa. Koop was unusual in his style, and well known for his mustache-less beard and colorful bow ties.

Personal life[change | change source]

Koop was born on October 14, 1916 in Brooklyn, New York. He studied at Dartmouth College, at Cornell Medical College, and at the University of Pennsylvania. He was married to Betty Koop from 1938 until her death in 2007. Then he was married to Cora Hogue Koop from 2010 until his death in 2013. He had four children.

Death[change | change source]

Koop died on February 25, 2013 from unknown causes. During the past months, Koop had been ill. He suffered renal failure the past week[4] in his home in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 96 years old.[5]

Award and honors[change | change source]

Koop after becoming Surgeon General of the United States, November 1981

References[change | change source]

  1. C. Everett Koop
  2. 2.0 2.1 C. Everett Koop, the Only US Surgeon General Frank Zappa Sang About, Dead at 96 at Motherjones.com
  3. The C. Everett Koop Papers: AIDS, the Surgeon General, and the Politics of Public Health
  4. "C. Everett Koop, Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dies at 96". Valley News. February 25, 2013.
  5. "C. Everett Koop Dead: Former Surgeon General Dies at 96". The Huffington Post. February 25, 2013.
  6. "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  7. BROZAN, Nadine (October 25, 1991). "Chronicle". The New York Times.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD". Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Archived from the original on March 1, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  9. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop dies at age 96[permanent dead link] at firstcoastnews.com
  10. "The Heinz Awards, C. Everett Koop profile". Heinzawards.net. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

Other websites[change | change source]