Learning from Dr. Trunkey by Dr Schreiber

I first met Dr. Trunkey as an intern at Madigan Army Medical Center in 1988.  Dr. Trunkey was doing his active duty training there and he was a Colonel in the US Army Reserve.  He spent a significant part of a day teaching in educational conferences and meeting with the residents.  As an iconic figure in trauma, I did not expect Dr. Trunkey to take the time to personally get to know each of the residents but this is exactly what he did.  I was immediately impressed with his breadth of knowledge and his ability to impart it. I still remember many of the topics we discussed that day and the words of wisdom he imparted

During the time Dr. Trunkey was at Madigan, I was assigned the first case of my career as an operating surgeon, a needle localized breast biopsy and I was shocked to find out that Dr. Trunkey, the famous trauma surgeon, was assigned as the attending.  So, essentially, right out of medical school, I was doing a case with 1 of the top 5 trauma surgeons in the country. But it was a breast biopsy, not a GSW to the heart but Dr. Trunkey was very patient with me and even with a breast biopsy, he was able to teach surgical concepts I carried with me for the rest of my career.  I considered the case to be a success because a trauma surgeon and a future trauma surgeon completed the case without massive bleeding!

That very brief exposure to Dr. Trunkey at the beginning of my career played a huge role in my decision to become a trauma surgeon in the future.  As the Chief of Trauma at OHSU, following in Dr. Trunkey’s footsteps, I feel honored to have learned from Dr. Trunkey and then later to have served as a colleague.

Martin A. Schreiber, MD FACS

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