By Jane Nambi
C. Everett Koop died at the age of 96 at his home in Hanover.
His death was announced by an assistant at Koop’s Dartmouth institute, Susan Wills although she did not reveal his cause of death. Dr. Koop is mostly remembered for carrying out a crusade to end smoking in the US with the goal of ending it by 2000. His campaign said that smoking was as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
In 1996, he rapped Republican presidential hopeful Bob Dole for suggesting that tobacco is not invariably addictive, saying Dole’s comments “either exposed his abysmal lack of knowledge of nicotine addiction or his blind support of the tobacco industry.” In 1986, he issued a report on AIDS, urging the use of condoms for “safe [intimacy][" and advocating [intimate] education as early as third grade.
He became a hero to AIDS activists, who chanted “Koop, Koop” at his appearances but booed other administration officials.
Koop served as chairman of the National Safe Kids Campaign and as an adviser to President Bill Clinton’s health care reform plan. Koop was born in New York’s borough of Brooklyn and was the only son of a Manhattan banker and the nephew of a doctor. He said by age 5 he knew he wanted to be a surgeon and at age 13 he practiced his skills on neighborhood cats.
Dr. Joseph O’Donnell, an oncologist and professor at the Geisel School of Medicine said of Koop, “When he decided he was going to come here I felt like I died and went to heaven. He was my hero, and we worked a lot together.”
Koop received his medical degree at Cornell Medical College, choosing pediatric surgery because so few surgeons practiced it.
In 1938, Koop married Elizabeth Flanagan, the daughter of a Connecticut doctor. They had four children — Allen, Norman, David and Elizabeth. David, their youngest son, was killed in a mountain-climbing accident when he was 20. Koop’s wife died in 2007, and he married Cora Hogue in 2010.
He pioneered surgery on newborns and successfully separated three sets of conjoined twins. He won national acclaim by reconstructing the chest of a baby born with the heart outside the body.