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"Public Health and Private Lives: A Response on Receiving the Cosmos Club Award, Washington, DC" [Reminiscence]

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Publication Date
Keywords
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Disabled Children
  • Health Policy
  • Smoking

Abstract

PUBLIC HEALTH AND PRIVATE LIVES BY c. EvEREl[T KOOP, MD A RESPONSE ON RECEIVING THE COSMOS CLUB AWARD 1989 COSMOS CLUB WASHINGTONDC OCTOBER 19, 1989 I WANf’TOTHANKYOUFORTHEHONOR OFRECEMNGTHE COSMOS CLUB AWARD. AS YOU MAY KNOW BY NOW, I AM PRECISELY ON THE 19TH DAY OF MY LIFE IN THE PWATE SECTOR,....WHEEtEIPLAN?Y)CONTINUEMYCONCEEtNSASA PUBLIC SERVO, PUBLIC SERVICE, FOR SOME OF US, IS A / REWARD IN ITSELF. BUT FOR ME, PUBLIC SERVICE, WITH THE APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE I HAVERECEIVED FROM THE PUBLIC, IS ALSO SOURCE OF HUMILITY AND DEEP PERSONAL SATISFACTION. TONIGHT, THEN, I’D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE EXPERIENCES OF CITIZEN C. EVERETT KOOP, AS HE PARTICIPATED INONECO- OFTHEAMERrCANNATIoNALGO- OVER THE PAST 8 YEARS. - BUTLEI’MEWARNYOUTHATTHISWILLNOTBEANEVENING OF “KISS-AND-TELL.” I DON’T FIND THAT BEHAVIOR TO MY TASTE AT ALL. ALSO, AS A PRACTICING SURGEON FOR NEARLY 40 YEARS, I STILL CARRY THE INGRAINED HABIT OF NOT VIOLATING THE CONFIDENCES OF A PATIENT. NOT THAT EVERYONE IN WASHINGTONREQUIRES SPECIAL CARE . . . WELL, CERTAINLY NOT EVERYONE BUT L;ET ME BEGIN. FIRST, I MUST TELL YOU THAT THE PRMLEGEOFBEINGSURGEONGENERAL HAS BEEN THE MOST DEMANDING AND MOST EXCITING POSITION I HAVE EVER HELD. I AM STILL GRATEFUL TO PRESIDENT REAGAN FOR HAVING NOMINATED ME IN 1981 AND FOR HIS UNOMXNATION OF ME IN 1985. YOUMAY REMEMB ER, I’M SURE, THAT MY NOMINATION WAS NOT WITHOUT SOME CONTROVERSY, WHICH IS PUTrING IT AS DELICATELY AS I CAN. /6 PRIVATE LIFE I HAD BEEN AN CiUTSPOKEN PERSON WITH VERY STRONG OPINIONS ON IMPORTANT ISSUES. AND THESE OPINIONS -- A&D MY AGE, 65 -- WERE USED AS ARGUMENTS AGAINST MY BEING THE COUNTRY’S SURGEONGENERAL. THECONGRESSANDMANYPEOPLE . . ACROSS THE COUNTRY DEBATED THESE MATTERS FOR ABOUT 8 MONTHS. BUT_IDID, TOO. I ASKED MYSELF IF I SHOULD -- OR COULD -- VOW TO BE A CHANGED PERSONINORDERTO GAINTHE SENATE’S APPROVAL. SHOULD I, FOR

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