He was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1931 as the first son of the late Joseph and Rachel Cohen. Elie graduated from the Ein Sham University in Cairo in 1955. He was inquisitive, intellectual and scored the top three spot for the entire country’s academic uniform exams. Although he loved his birth country, he left in 1959 with a sense of disappointment and frustration of the political climate. He pursued his medical career in the United States. He completed internships at Miriam Hospital in Providence, surgical residencies at RI Hospital and Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, and orthopedic residencies at both the University of Maryland Hospital and Kernan Hospital for Children in Baltimore, Maryland.
Dr. Cohen was the first orthopedic surgeon to set up a practice in Newport, Rhode Island. He joined the Aquidneck Medical Center and in 1972 set up his private practice. He was licensed to practice in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia. He performed the first arthroscopic surgery, introduced total joint replacement and was known to stay at the hospital round the clock when a patient was in serious condition.
He was certified by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, Diplomat of the American Board of Forensic Examiners, Diplomat of the American Board of Forensic Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Pain Management. He was also licensed to serve as a physician in Israel in the event of combat.
In addition, he was past president of the Newport County Medical Society, a past president of the medical staff at Newport Hospital, a past president of the medical legal committee of Rhode Island. He was a member of the RI Medical Society, the American Medical Association, the RI Orthopedic Society, the Boston Orthopedic Club, the University of Maryland Surgical Society and the Eastern Orthopedic Society. Dr. Cohen served as Governor of the Newport HealthCare Corporation, a consultant on the staff of the University of RI Health Services. In 1986 he received the physician recognition award from the America medical association. He was appointed to the Workmen’s Compensation Committee by Governor Garrahy in 1978 and to the Medical Examiner’s Committee by Gov. DiPrete in 1987. Dr. Cohen also received a merit award from the AMA in honor of 50 years of dedicated service to the medical profession.
In 2013 Dr. Cohen retired from his private practice, though he remained on as an active senior staff member at the Newport Hospital. He used to say, “Once a doctor, always a doctor.”
Dr. Cohen had many charitable, civic and sporting interests. He was fluent in English, French and Arabic languages. He loved spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. He enjoyed worldwide travel and recently returned from an expedition to the Galapogos. He was a member of the Newport Lions Club for more than 40 years and received the Melvin Jones Award. He was a member, trustee and past squadron commander of the Newport Sail & Power Squadron, and held a Senior Navigator certificate for educational achievement and a past commander and member of the Navy League.
Dr. Cohen was a lifetime member of the Newport Yacht Club. He was a past president of B’nai Brith of Newport, a member of Congregation Jeshuat Israel of Touro Synagogue and a founding member of the Touro National Heritage Trust. He enjoyed participating in Alliance Francais events and the Retired Dr. Dinners. He touched many lives during his 53-year career.
He was an avid swimmer, champion rower on the Nile, sailor and equestrian. He loved playing backgammon with his children, spending time on his computer and had many philanthropic interests.
Dr. Cohen will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by his wife, Marcia Cohen, and three children: Renee Cohen of N Kingstown, RI, Audrey Pavia (Joseph), of East Meadow, NY and Lawrence Cohen (Charlene) of Warwick, RI. He is survived by two Grandchildren, Gillian and Jolie Pavia. He is also survived by his brother, Jacob Cohen (Odette) of Baltimore, MD. He is also the brother of the late Albert Cohen (Lilliane) of Istres, France and Benjamin Cohen of Baltimore, MD and beloved nephews and a niece.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Touro Synagogue, Newport Hospital or any charity of your choice. –David Duggan
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