C. Everett Koop 1916-2013

C. Everett Koop. The College of Physicians of PhiladelphiaToday we received the sad news that C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD, died in New Hampshire.

C. Everett Koop was born in Brooklyn on October 14, 1916, at the heels of the largest polio epidemic to date in the United States. He described his childhood experiences with polio epidemic here in this interview.

He was a highly regarded pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia before he  became Surgeon General of the United States in 1981.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Koop just before the launch of History of Vaccines in the summer of 2009. He answered our questions about his own personal experiences with vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccines. In this clip, we asked him which vaccine had had the most impact in his lifetime, and he discusses his cousin’s experience with complications from measles infection.

Dr. Koop was a longtime Fellow here at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Our education room is named for him, and many of our longtime staff members recall their close working relationships with him very fondly. The last time many of us saw Dr. Koop was in 2010, shortly after his marriage to Cora Hogue, who survives him.

Dr. Koop was predeceased by Elizabeth Koop, his wife of 67 years; she died in 2007.

Here is the official statement from The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of our long-time Fellow and Presidential Advisor, C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD.  Dr. Koop was more than a colleague: he was a mentor, advisor, and teacher, but most importantly, our brother and friend. His dedication to our profession and service to this College helped us all better understand what it means to be part of medicine.  His compassion for his patients taught us how to be good and caring physicians. 

Dr. Koop was elected to the Fellowship of the College on April 19, 1949, while he was Surgeon-in-Chief at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He was a very active member of the College, even while serving as United States Surgeon General.  Frequently, he would make the trip from Washington to attend a board meeting or function. 

His memory will live on here at the College, especially in the room that bears his name. The Koop Education Center is where thousands of school children visit each year to explore what it means to be human.  This is the way “Chick” would want to be remembered–as an educator, as a physician, and as someone with great interest in and compassion for children.

We send our deepest condolences to his wife, Cora, and his children, Allan, Norman, and Elizabeth.