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Nov 17, 2001
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The director of the trauma program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was killed in Iraq on Christmas Day, military officials said Friday.

Maj. John P. Pryor, 42, of Moorestown, N.J., was killed Thursday when a mortar round hit near his living quarters, the Defense Department said.

Pryor was serving with a forward surgical team with the Army's 1st Medical Detachment, based in Fort Totten, N.Y.

Pryor was married with three children.

One of Pryor's colleagues at Penn said he was devastated by the news.

"John was a man who truly believed that service to others was his calling," said Dr. C. William Schwab, chief of trauma surgery and critical care at the hospital. "Whether it was volunteering at Ground Zero on 9/11 or with the Army, or serving the people of the community, that was what he was about."

Pryor joined the hospital in 1999 after graduating medical school at the State University of New York in Buffalo, Schwab said. He described Pryor as a "star" who quickly rose through the hospital ranks to become director of its trauma program.

Pryor deployed Dec. 6 for his second tour of duty in Iraq as a combat medic with the Army Reserves, and was due to come home in April, Schwab said. He said Pryor had studied Arabic, knowing he could be dealing with wounded Iraqi civilians -- especially children -- and wanted to make them feel at ease.

Pryor wrote of his experiences as a surgeon confronting violence in Iraq and inner-city Philadelphia in articles published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post.

"As a trauma surgeon, every death I have is painful; every one takes a little out of me," he wrote in a 2006 article in the Inquirer. "Losing these kids here in Iraq rips a hole through my soul so large that it's hard for me to continue breathing.

"If I could say something to this Marine's parents, it would be this: I am so sorry that you have lost your son. We, more than almost everyone else, know he was a true American hero."

--from FOX NEWS
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15+ Year Member
Aug 14, 2002
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That sucks...he was still pretty young and had a long career ahead of him. He went to my med school too.
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