Guest / Limited Access /

This article originally appeared in the December 15, 1978, issue of Christianity Today, three years before Koop, who died yesterday, was nominated to serve as U.S. Surgeon General.

C Everett Koop, chief surgeon of Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, received much publicity in 1974 as head of the surgical team to successfully separate Siamese twins. Recently, in another operation on Siamese twins, he had to decide which twin should live and which should die; both would have died if they had remained attached. Such pressures are not unusual.

Koop gets up at six A.M. to have his daily devotions. He drives to the hospital, arriving at about 7:20. He checks the files of the patients that he will be operating on that day and begins surgery at 8; three days a Week he finishes by 10:30 or 11. By then he has performed or six operations. He sees ten to fifteen patients after that, usually with a medical student, teaching him as he examines patients. Koop carries a load of administrative as well as teaching duties—committee meetings with staff, rounds, and conferences with students. After he leaves the hospital at 6:30, he still has about three hours of paper work to do. Koop's schedule has changed somewhat in the last few years. He now avoids long, tension-producing operations, leaving them to his younger colleagues, though he reserves Wednesday for his big cases.

When he first came to Chi1dren's Hospital in 1946, Koop had to convince people that the surgery he wanted to do on children would work. He almost lived at the hospital, leaving "my remarkable wife" to carry much of the weight of raising their children. The divorce rate among surgeons, explains Koop, is astronomical.

Assistant editor Cheryl ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueHow Much Attention Does Luther Really Deserve?
Subscriber Access Only How Much Attention Does Luther Really Deserve?
How to celebrate one of history’s biggest celebrities.
RecommendedThe Micro-Premie Dilemma
The Micro-Premie Dilemma
Does NICU technology change our pro-life obligations?
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickCompassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
Compassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
About 145,000 children have already lost its assistance with food, education, and health care.
Christianity Today
Medical Ethics and the Stewardship of Life
hide this

In the Magazine

December 15, 1978

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.