Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Koop, C. Everett
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Congenital Birth Defects and the Medical Rights of Children: The "Baby Doe" Controversy
October 26, 1996
As a patron of the Anchor & Caduceus Society, I am delighted to have been invited to join my fellow Koop admirers by writing
you a letter on the occasion of this Gala Celebration. Even more delightful, however, is to be among the multitude of ex-medical
students who knew you when! I knew you when you were Chief of Surgery at the "CHOP", when you were every medical student's
role model, . . . and when you were unencumbered by facial hair.
My first recollection of our acquaintance is the fall of 1957, when as a third-year University of Pennsylvania medical student
on his first clinical rotation, I sat in your office enjoying an early evening indoctrination to pediatric surgical disease.
I can still vividly remember that very first day of my clinical life and your instruction on the diagnosis and treatment of
small bowel intussusception.
I remember racing feverishly with one of your residents so that we might complete the repair of an infant's unilateral
inguinal hernia before you (the fastest scalpel in the East) completed a bilateral repair in the next room, only to sense
your breathing on our necks as you peered over our shoulders just as we began the "Koop" subcuticular closure.
My classmate then and "comrade-in-arms" now, Rusty Sloan, and I shall always recall the superb learning experience
at the hands of Chick Koop, master surgeon and educator who readily shared his medical knowledge, skills and professional
values whilst we retracted for you in the O.R. Who could have had the prescience then to predict our destinies as fellow surgeons
Sir, you were my "folk hero" well before you became the nation's. It was with profound joy that I learned of your
nomination as Surgeon General of the United States. I was supremely confident that during your tenure you would serve your
nation with characteristic dedication and integrity. You are, indeed, your nation's compassionate physician, able to champion
what is medically and morally right, no matter how politically unpopular . . . no matter how much of a "royal pain"
you are. A doctor, a teacher, a leader . . . you exemplify the very best of our profession. Happy birthday, Chick!