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VA Palo Alto Health Care System

 

Jim Cooper's Legacy: A Veteran’s Story

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Veteran Jim Cooper

Veteran Jim Cooper was a combat diver in the Navy during the Korean War.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jim Cooper’s Legacy is a short film (13 minutes) which tells the real life story of Jim Ray Cooper and his experiences during the last six years of his life with advanced lung disease. He was a Navy Frogman in the Korean War, the predecessors for the modern day Navy Seals.

In 2005, Cooper was told he was dying of advanced lung disease and had less than six months to live. He was suffering with severe breathlessness, pain and was terrified that he was going to suffocate to death as his lung disease worsened.

Cooper was referred to Dr. Periyakoil's Palliative Care clinic for pain and symptom management. Dr. Periyakoil and her team began providing intensive palliative care, enabling them to control his pain, depression, breathlessness, PTSD, and other distressing symptoms.

Jim regained his desire to live and spent the last six years of his life with his family. In the film, Cooper recounts key stories from his life, remarries his daughter Kellee’s mother to reunite his family, and finally comes to term with his death. The camera follows him all the way to the end including his military funeral.

As palliative care experts helped him live longer and feel better, Cooper became passionately committed to increasing public awareness of this new and important medical sub-specialty. To this end, he asked Dr. Periyakoil to film his final years and use his story to teach patients and was particularly committed to facilitating access to Palliative Care for seriously ill Veterans and their families.

Jim Cooper recently passed away and we release this video in honor of him, the men, and the women who gave their lives in service to the Nation.

Click here to watch the video.