Major John P. Pryor, M.D., U.S. Army, Killed in Iraq
I was wide awake this morning at 0230. As is normal, I rolled over and blindly reached for my iPhone, figuring that if I couldn’t sleep, I would at least make good use of my sleeplessness and catch up on my RSS feed reading.
The moment I read the post title, which simply said something about a New Jersey trauma surgeon dying in Iraq, I knew I would be in mourning when I was fully awake. I hadn’t even read his name and my intuition was going off.
Dr. Pryor is a trauma-critical care surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He completed medical school and general surgery training at the University of Buffalo, in Buffalo New York, and completed fellowship training in trauma surgery and critical care at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently the Trauma Program Director for the Trauma Center at Penn, and the Director of the Office of Life Support education for the Division of Trauma. Dr. Pryor is also a Major in the United States Army Reserve Medical Corps. He served two active duty tours as the trauma surgeon for the 344th Combat Support Hospital in Abu Ghraib Iraq during 2006, and then with the 1st Forward Surgical Team (FST), in 2008.
Major John P. Pryor, M.D. was a prominent trauma surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. MAJ Pryor, while serving in Iraq, died on Christmas Day during a mortar attack.
Dr. Pryor, I would realize later, was a guest lecturer for my Acute Care NP program, and spent time with us in the lab teaching central lines and chest tubes. It was unnerving to find photos of Dr. Pryor among those I took during my time at Penn, finally understanding why the post title, read in the middle of the night, struck a chord.
Although I did not know Dr. Pryor personally, his confidence in the classroom and his approachability made the sections he taught some of my favorites. His death is a loss for the students he taught, the patients he treated, the staff he worked with, and the soldiers he served with.