Born in 1937, Professor Donald Trunkey is an internationally renowned trauma surgeon, and one of the first surgeons to incorporate the concepts of remaining active on the trauma call schedule. He continues to be a strong advocate for improved trauma care throughout the world.
Raised in farm country in Eastern Washington, Professor Trunkey practiced farm work, mining, hod carrying, carpentry, and building-contracting. He obtained his B.S. and MD degrees from Washington State University. Following his internship, he served for two years as a medical officer in the U.S. military base in Germany, then completed his training in general surgery at the University of California in San Francisco, spent one year in the Organ Preservation Laboratory and another year at Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, on a special NIH fellowship in trauma. After completing his fellowship in Dallas, Professor Trunkey returned to the University of California, San Francisco, where he became intensely involved in the care of trauma patients. He became Chief of the Burn Center at San Francisco General Hospital. He also developed a keen interest in elective vascular surgery and non-cardiac thoracic surgery. Trunkey established a laboratory to study mechanisms of shock at the cellular level with a special interest in myocardial performance following shock, lung injury, and cellular immune mechanisms following injury. In 1978, he became Chief of Surgery at San Francisco General Hospital and in April 1986, he assumed the Chair at Oregon Health Sciences University Department of Surgery, where he built a strong general surgery residency based on all the primary components of general surgery. His own special interest remains to be in trauma surgery. He authored some 170 journal articles, 24 books and around 200 book chapters, and presented many honorary lectures. He also served on the editorial boards of many professional journals.
In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Medicine, Professor Trunkey received many other prestigious awards and honors including: Distinguished Service Award of the American College of Surgeon, Washington State University College of Science Distinguished Alumnus Award, Barry Goldwater Service Award, International Society of Surgery Prize, Honorary Membership of the British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine and Honorary Fellowships of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of England, Ireland, Edinburgh, Glasgow, South Africa and Brazil, Medal of the Royal College of Medicine of England and Honorary Professorship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
Professor Donald, has been awarded the prize, because he is one of the most influential leaders in the field of trauma management. He conceived and validated an organized trauma system for a better outcome of the injured patient; and disseminated this system world-wide. His observations have led to the formation of mobile surgical units, thereby improving significantly the survival of injured patients.