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1924 - 2016

ROBERT WEST HOPKINS, M.D., 1924 - 2016

Dr. Robert West Hopkins, Professor Emeritus of Medical Science at Brown University, passed away peacefully on February 22, 2016 at his home in Milton, Massachusetts with his devoted wife and daughters at his side.

Robert Hopkins was born and raised in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. He was the son of the late Dr. Frederick Sherman Hopkins and Mary West Hopkins. Robert attended both Harvard College (Class of 1945) and Harvard Medical School (Class of 1947). Like his father and grandfather, he became a surgeon completing his internship and surgical residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital before being called to serve as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict. Following his return from Korea, Robert began his medical career at the Pennsylvania Hospital as an assistant surgeon and instructor in surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He was subsequently recruited to Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital in 1958 where he served as Director of Graduate Education for the Department of Surgery and Chief of Trauma and Emergency Services. He rose to the level of associate professor at Case Western University School of Medicine before being recruited in 1970 to Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Hopkins was recruited to Providence by Dr. Fiorindo Simeone and they both went on to play an instrumental role in developing Brown University’s new medical program along with Dr Henry Randall. Brown graduated its first class of physicians in 1975. Dr. Hopkins served as Surgeon-in-Chief at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, and is credited with performing the first kidney transplant in Rhode Island in 1973. Upon his death a patient from 1975 noted that she was his last kidney transplant patient and was alive and well 41 years later with the same transplanted kidney in place.

Dr. Hopkins was an active member of many medical societies including the American Surgical Association. He served as President of the New England Society for Vascular Surgery in 1989, and President of the Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Forces from 1982 – 1984. He also served as Vice-President of the New England Surgical Society from 1984 – 1985 and President of the Rhode Island division of the American Cancer Society. Displaying the same character attributes, Dr. Hopkins discussed in his New England Vascular Surgical Presidential Address: energy, poise and resilience he continued to attend departmental and professional conferences late into his 90s, forever remaining interested in the ever evolving field of medicine. Robert remained a staunch supporter of academic surgery at Brown until his death.

Dr. Hopkins is survived by his wife of 56 years, Ann Hopkins, two daughters, Mary Ann Hopkins, MD, also a surgeon, of New York City, and Elizabeth Hopkins Dunn of Chicago, two granddaughters, his brother, Frank Hopkins, and sister, Martha Booth.