Dr. C. Everett Koop has long been regarded as the nation's doctor-- even though it has been nearly a quarter-century since he was surgeon general.
Koop, who died Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H., at age 96, was by far the best known and most influential person to carry that title. Koop, a 6-foot-1 evangelical Presbyterian with a biblical prophet's beard, donned a public health uniform in the early 1980s and became an enduring, science-based national spokesman on health issues.
Someone who pushed for early sex ed, who pushed for accurate information about AIDS to be widely disseminated in a time when it was still being written off as a 'gay plague', and who could mix science and faith in his personal life without coming across as an arrogant jerk nor a buffoon.
Even though I was a child when he was in office, I remember these things. As an adult, I appreciate them.
I was working in substance abuse treatment and he was to speak at my son's college graduation. I was looking so forward to it. He was not able to make it. His speech, given by someone else, did not have the same power. His willingness to open eyes to AIDS was instrumental in slowing the spread of the disease.
I agree. He had the ability to mix science and religion. He kept his religion out of his job. He walked a fine line. And did that walk well.
This touches me pretty closely because he was my uncle's surgeon! Dr. Koop performed a VP shunt surgery on my mom's older brother. Sadly, my uncle died at age three but my family has always been thankful to Dr. Koop for giving him a chance he wouldn't have had otherwise!
He is an example of the kind of person I wish to be. I recall like it was yesterday that one of the first bits of mail we received shortly after moving to Boulder, CO with husband and 1 year old son was the AIDS informational brochure sent to every household in America. I knew we had a different sort of Surgeon General right then. RIP Dr Koop.
the patients were mostly young men. I remember most of them so well.
Thanks to Dr. Koops leadership the discrimination of sick people stopped.
Thanks to research it is now a chronic expensive disease rather than a fatal one.
Just look at Magic Johnson enjoy life. He does a lot for others too.