Former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop has died. He was one of the beloved public figures to emerge from the Reagan Administration during the 1980’s, admired both for independent views as well as the force at which he spoke on health issues. A deeply religious man who became a Presbyterian Evangelical Christian, Dr. Koop ignored snickers from other doctors when he would pray at the bedside of sick patients as a physician.
Even as a yong boy of 13, Koop had such a knack for medu
At the time of his nomination by President Reagan, many liberals and women’s groups opposed his nomination fearing that he was being nominated for his deeply conservative political ideology rather than any great skills or talents as a surgeon general, but Koop certainly surprised everyone, and was viewed as a very honest and tolerant man who was deeply concerned about the spread of AIDS and other health problems such as smoking. Koop even was critical of Republican candidate Robert Dole for being in the pockets of the big tobacco companies by refusing to accept the harm that smoking does.
Although he had personal religious objections to issues such as abortion, homosexuality or sex outside of marriage, he was very tolerant toward others, and remained rooted in sound medical teachings rather than some religious ideologue. President Clinton asked Dr. Koop to act in an advisory to his failed health care reform overhaul plan, which wasn’t able to survive the political climate of a conservative senate and congress.
Dr. Koop deeply impressed the nation as a throughly decent man who always put the best interests of the nation’s health care out front. He was also one of few figures in the Reagan Administration not damaged by some scandal or controversy, and had wide public respect. He was a great man, and in fact, maybe the greatest surgeon general ever to serve.