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The renaissance man of burn surgery

Basil A. Pruitt, Jr.

Capek, Karel D. MD; Foncerrada, Guillermo MD; Clayton, R. Patrick; Sljivich, Michaela; Voigt, Charles D. MD; Hundeshagen, Gabriel MD; Cambiaso-Daniel, Janos MD; Porter, Craig PhD; Guillory, Ashley PhD; Herndon, David N. MD

Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: November 2017 - Volume 83 - Issue 5 - p 765–773
doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000001651
Proceedings from the 2016 Festschrift Honoring Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D.

ABSTRACT Dr. Basil A. Pruitt Jr., a consummate clinical and translational surgeon-scientist, has spent over half a century at the forefront of an advancing standard of burn care. Commanding the US Army Institute for Surgical Research in San Antonio, he trained generations of leading burn clinicians and allied scientists. At his direction, there were forged discoveries in resuscitation from shock, treatment of inhalation injury, control of burn-related infections, prevention of iatrogenic complications, and understanding the sympathetic, endocrine, and immune responses to burn injury. Most consequentially, this team was among the first to recognize and define alterations in the basal metabolic rate and thermoregulation consequent to burn injury. These investigations prompted groundbreaking insights into the coordinated nervous, autonomic, endocrine, immune, and metabolic outflows that a severely burned patient uses to remain alive and restore homeostasis. Marking his scientific consequence, many of his reports continue to bear fruit when viewed through a contemporary lens. This article summarizes some of the major findings of his career thus far and is intended to complement a Festschrift recently held in his honor.

From the Department of Surgery (K.D.C., G.F., R.P.C., M.S., C.D.V., G.H., J.C-D., C.P., A.G., D.N.H.), Institute for Translational Sciences (R.P.C., C.D.V., G.H., C.P., A.G., D.N.H.), University of Texas Medical Branch; and Shriners Hospital for Children (K.D.C., G.F., R.P.C., C.D.V., G.H., J.C-D., C.P., A.G., D.N.H.), Galveston, Texas.

Submitted: June 26, 2017, Accepted: June 27, 2017.

This manuscript is submitted as a postscript to the Festschrift honoring Dr. Basil A. Pruitt Jr. at the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma Board of Manager’s Meeting, April 08, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas.

Address for reprints: David N. Herndon, MD, 815 Market St., Shriners Hospitals for Children, Galveston, TX 77550; email:

© 2017 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.