WASHINGTON -- Dr. C. Everett Koop, whose nomination to the post of surgeon general whipped up a loud controversy, was quietly sworn into the post in a private ceremony.
Koop was sworn in Thursday as surgeon general and head of the Public Health Service by Health and Human Services Secretary Richard Schweiker.
Koop was easily confirmed by the Senate Nov. 16 by a 60-24 vote, the wide margin belying the controversy during his confirmation hearings. His nomination had been delayed until Congress passed provisions removing the job's age restriction of 64 -- Koop is 65 -- and the requirement the surgeon general be a member of the PHS.
Most of the opposition to Koop centered on his opposition to abortion, even though he promised not to use his job as a 'pulpit' for his views. Some health groups objected to what they said was Koop's lack of international health experience.
Koop is a former surgeon in chief at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, where he once successfully separated Siamese twins in an operation that grabbed headlines around the world.
In an interview shortly after his confirmation, Koop said he thinks it appropriate for government to mount huge anti-smoking crusades, but not vast catastrophic insurance programs.
He also defended his record on women's issues against criticism by liberals such as Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., saying he had 'trained more female pediatric surgeons than anyone else in this country.'