If any journalist in Washington has a reason to mourn the passing of C. Everett Koop, it’s The Daily Caller‘s Alex Pappas. “So sad to hear of C. Everett Coop’s passing,” he wrote on Twitter Monday. “He operated on – and saved the life of – my mom when she was a baby with rare heart condition.”
Indeed, in 1960, Pappas’ mother was an infant living in Martinsburg, West Virginia. She had been diagnosed with a rare heart condition called A-V fistula of the coronary arteries. Though the surgery was risky, Koop operated on her at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when she was just five months old. “At the time, there were only five other known cases of people having it,” said Pappas. “Mom was the first known attempted surgery.”
The surgery made history: Pappas says his mother was the first person to survive the kind of operation Koop did. As she grew older, she saw him several times and thanked him in person. “As you can imagine, C. Everett Koop means a lot to my family,” Pappas said.