On Monday, Jan. 5, JEMS Editorial Board member and noted University of Pennsylvania trauma surgeon and trauma center director, Major John P. Pryor, was laid to rest in Cherry Hill, Pa. after an emotional funeral service held at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Pryor was serving, at his request, as a trauma surgeon at a frontline surgical hospital in Iraq and was mortally wounded Christmas Day when a mortar struck near his quarters in Mosul.
His funeral service was moved to the massive cathederal because of the high tournout from the military, prehospital and hospital community. In addition, dozens of former patients and their family members attended the services to pay homage to a man who saved lives and whom they had come to know and respect as a surgeon and a friend.
One colleague described John on Philadelphia's Action New Channel 6 as a man who talked to you and not through you. Click here to view a local news clip of the service. View more news clips below.
Dr. Pryor was given full military honors and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart by the U.S. Army at the funeral service.
Pryor was a member of the Street Medicine Society, created by JEMS founding editor James O. Page to bring together an elite group of emergency physicians who got their start in emergency services in the EMS prehospital arena. The Street Medicine Society will meet March 26-28 at the 2009 EMS Today Conference in Baltimore, and it will honor Dr. Pryor with the newly created John P. Pryor Street Medicine Society Award for exemplary service by a member of the Street Medicine Society.
JEMS Medical Editor Edward Dickinson and longtime friend and colleague Mike McEvoy will present the special award to Major Pryor's brother, Richard Pryor, also an emergency physician, at the EMS Today opening ceremonies on Thursday, March 26.
Video Clips & Commentary
VIDEO: Funeral for doctor killed in Iraq
See special tributes posted in Dr. Pryor's Honor on:
HUP surgeon buried with Army honors
By Michael Matza and David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writers
In a far corner of a Cherry Hill cemetery, amid the doleful strains of Taps and sharp reports of a rifle-team salute, the U.S. Army posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart yesterday to Maj. John Pryor, an Army Reserve surgeon killed in Iraq.
Pryor, 42, of Moorestown, head of the trauma unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, was mortally wounded Christmas Day when a mortar struck near his quarters in Mosul.
He was also father of three young children, who sat at the graveside among hundreds of mourners at Colestown Cemetery. Lt. Gen. Eric Schoonmaker, surgeon general of the Army, knelt before Danielle, 10, Francis, 8, and John Jr., 4, and presented each with a folded American flag and a set of their father's medals and awards. He spoke quietly to the youngsters, who listened solemnly, without tears, while relatives behind them wept openly.
"He chose to give his life to protect his family and my family," Schoonmaker told everyone. "We will never forget him."