BASIL A. PRUITT JR.
1930 - 2019
Basil Pruitt was a remarkable man, even among the past presidents of this organization. He played a long and direct role in burns and trauma care for the Army, all the while producing a variety of scientific advances from his own hand, his own mind, and his own unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. His transformative career began mundanely enough at Harvard College, Tufts Medical, and Boston City Hospital under Gardner Child (1957-1962). His appointment to complete his training in surgery occurred at Brooke General Hospital in San Antonio alongside Jack Moncrief, another amazing leader of Surgery in America. Basil became Commander and Director of the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research for the next twenty-seven years.
His legacies fill many of the Chairs in academic surgical disciplines. He trained forty-six Burn Unit Directors with over twenty-three leaders of one sort or another in various surgical units in many medical schools and teaching hospitals. He was an accomplished editor for seventeen years as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Trauma and served on the editorial boards of many other journals. He had a dozen presidencies in a variety of surgical organizations, literally a hatful of honorary fellowships, and numerous national and international awards for his work, especially in burns. His international advisory efforts included China, Turkey, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Canada. Dr. Pruitt had nearly five-hundred peer-reviewed publications, fifteen books and monographs, and five different lifetime achievement awards.
He and Molly were ever present as a couple at virtually all of the most respected societies, colleges, and associations. If you are going to close with a quote about Basil Pruitt, it would be: "Citizen, surgeon, innovator, mentor, and leader". He transformed science and he transformed humanity while he was doing all of the above.
HIRAM C. POLK, JR., MD