Robert West Hopkins

Hopkins_Robertweb&paperpicDr. Robert West Hopkins, Professor Emeritus of Medical Science at Brown University and former surgeon and Acting Chief-of-Surgery at Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, passed away peacefully on February 22 in his home in Milton, Massachusetts, with his devoted wife and daughters at his side.

Born and raised in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Robert was the son of the late Dr. Frederick Sherman Hopkins and Mary West Hopkins.  A graduate of Classical High School in Longmeadow, Robert went on to attend both Harvard College (Class of 1945) and Harvard Medical School (Class of 1947). Robert became a surgeon, like his father and grandfather before him, completing his internship and surgical residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital before being called to serve as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in Korea. His duties as a surgeon on the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose earned him a Medal of Commendation from the United States Navy.

Robert began his medical career at the Pennsylvania Hospital as assistant surgeon and instructor in surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He moved to the Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital in 1959, where he served as an associate surgeon from 1959-1970. While there, Robert served as Director of Graduate Education for the Department of Surgery and Chief of Trauma and Emergency Services. He was also an associate professor of surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland.

In 1970, Robert moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he was recruited by Dr. Fiorindo Simeone to play an instrumental role in developing Brown University’s new medical program.  Brown graduated its first class of physicians in 1975. Robert was Surgeon-in-Chief at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, and joined the faculty of Brown University as Professor of Medical Science. In 1980, he became the medical director of the Miriam’s Non-Invasive Vascular Laboratory, which was renamed the Robert W. Hopkins Non-Invasive Vascular Laboratory upon his retirement in 1996. While at the Miriam, he also served as a surgical consultant at Rhode Island Medical Center and Roger Williams General Hospital. Notably, Robert performed the first kidney transplant in Rhode Island in 1973 while at the Miriam.

Robert was an active member of numerous medical societies, serving in leadership positions of several. He authored numerous professional publications. He was President of the American Cancer Society, Rhode Island Division from 1973-77. He was Vice-President (1982-1983), President-Elect (1988-1989), and President (1989-1990) of the New England Society for Vascular Surgery. He was Vice-President and then President of the Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Forces (1982-1984). He was Vice-President of the New England Surgical Society from 1984-1985. Other medical societies in which Robert was active include: the American Surgical Association; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma; the American College of Surgeons (both nationally and in the local chapter); the American Heart Association (Trustee of the Northeast Ohio Chapter, 1969-1971); the American Medical Association; the American Trauma Society; and the Society for Vascular Surgery (Distinguished Fellow). Even in his 90s, Robert continued to attend professional conferences and remained interested in the ever-evolving field of medicine.

Robert is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Ann (Demetreou) Hopkins, two daughters, Mary Ann Hopkins, M.D., also a surgeon of New York City, and Elizabeth Hopkins Dunn and her husband Randall of Chicago, 2 granddaughters, Hunter and Chase Dunn, brother Frank Hopkins and his wife Belva of Andover, sister, Martha Booth of CO, sister- in- law Patricia Hopkins of IA, and late brother Frederick.

Graveside service was private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to either Doctors Without Borders, 333 7th Avenue, NY, NY  10001-5004 or to Harvard Medical School,Landmark Center, 401 Park Drive, Suite 22W, Boston, MA  02215