The recent passing of C. Everett Koop brought to mind his many contributions as U.S. surgeon general.
Koop served in that post from 1981 to 1989 during the Reagan administration.?He died Feb. 25 at the age of 96.
It isn't often these days when someone accomplishes enough in that position to distinguish him or herself. Koop did, however, by becoming a very public voice in support of increasing funding - and attention - to the then-new killer, AIDS.
In addition, he led a public campaign against smoking and no doubt saved many lives in doing so.
Well before being tabbed by Reagan for the surgeon general's post, Koop enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a pediatric surgeon, helping establish, among many other things, the nation's first neonatal surgical intensive care unit.
He pioneered a number of groundbreaking surgical procedures, always advocating a more "hands-on, humanistic" approach to medicine.
Koop was one of a kind, an innovator who didn't mind shaking up the medical community if it was needed. He will be missed.