My Dad

My father is Don Trunkey.  He was a renowned trauma surgeon and is finally retired to Idaho.  This web site will be about his life and achievements.

Basic Biography from OHSU:

Donald Dean Trunkey was born, raised, and educated in the state of Washington. He graduated with an M.D. from University of Washington in 1963 in the hope of becoming a General Practitioner. He interned under J. Englebert Dunphy at the University of Oregon Medical School, who became his mentor and turned his focus to surgery. When Trunkey was drafted into the Army, Dunphy went to San Francisco to begin one of the first trauma centers. He brought Trunkey in to join him after his service, and also got him a surgical Fellowship in Texas. On his return Trunkey rose to become chief of surgery for San Francisco General Hospital for 8 years. He then came back to Oregon to build a trauma system as Dept. Chairman over the next 15 years. An important interlude saw him as chief of surgery in an army hospital in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm. After the chairmanship he returned to teaching and lecturing on a global scale as a Professor and Professor Emeritus.

His varied experiences influenced his thoughts and actions on trauma care. In the Army rampant alcoholism led him to institute A.A. programs. In San Francisco the drug wars of the ‘60s made him both an expert in gunshot wounds, and an advocate for controversial measures like gun control and drug legalization. Work with traffic accident victims led him to lobby for seat-belt and helmet laws. Likewise, exposure to the Texas Burn Unit not only led him to replicate one in San Francisco, but also to research fire-retardant clothing and self-extinguishing cigarettes. His wartime service likewise gave him an up-close look at the current state and problems of combat medicine.

Trunkey’s decades-long involvement with trauma and trauma systems led to new surgical protocols of both invasive and non-operative types; the authorship of hundreds of articles and book chapters; the delivery of innumerable lectures; and participation in over 30 professional organizations.

One thought on “My Dad”

  1. I had the distinct honor of working with and learning from Dr. Trunkey.

    It started as a paramedic in the Portland area, and I remember the first time I met him. We brought in a victim of a motor vehicle crash and the patient was pretty much dead on arrival. I didn’t interact with him that day, but I was brand new and his absolute calm and how he carried himself in the trauma bay has stuck with me to this day. That was in the old ER at OHSU back in 1995 I think.

    Later, I worked as a Trauma Paramedic in the new ER at OHSU, and had many great resuscitations lead by him and helped him get patients to the OR alive as fast as possible. In that setting I learned that he was completely unflappable and I try to model his behavior and mannerisms to this day.

    Subsequently, as a medical student I got to spend some very distinct time with him as my attending and mentor on a Trauma ICU rotation (along with Rich Mullins, Marty Schreiber, Jen Watter (among many others) that really taught me how to think like a Trauma Surgeon in a resuscitation and in the ICU setting.

    I’m very sorry for your loss, and all of our loss. Over the years I have bought his books, read all of his research papers, listened to every lecture I could. He critiqued me on my honors presentation on my Trauma rotation and was one of the final doctors on the Hill to say goodbye and wish me luck.

    I would love to see his collected works pulled together and placed in a special section of the OHSU medical school library. He will forever be a part of me and my practice as a professional and his charisma, charm, calm and caring will be part of my personal life as well.

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