“I don’t want to die without seeing Princess.”
That’s what Air Force veteran “Mr. B” told his neurologist, Army Col. Shawna E. Scully, about his precious dog.
Scully tracked the brain cancer patient and had him transferred to William Beaumont Army Medical Center of El Paso, where she now serves as deputy commander of medical services.
Scully found the family that was taking care of Princess – who also suffered from cancer. She got hospital security to deputize Princess as an honorary service dog, and took her to see her master one last time. Mr. B and Princess both died soon after.
“Compassion. That’s Dr. Scully,” Xavier Bañales, CEO of Project Amistad, said. “She is always willing and able to visit, to give comfort, and to lend her expertise as a neurologist.”
She followed in the footsteps of her father, Tom Scully, a retired Army colonel and doctor who was commander of WBAMC from 1994 until he retired in 1995.
“He told me, 'Whatever you do, don’t be a doctor,'” she laughed. “But I’ve stuck with it and enjoyed it. I still wear the green. I love taking care of soldiers.”
That purpose has taken her all over the world, including two tours of duty in Iraq, one running an ambulance in Ramadi. That work earned her the Combat Medic Badge and a Bronze Star.
“If you were alive when we got to you, we got you help, and we got you home,” she said, humbly declining to go into detail about that service.
In the almost eight years she has been at Beaumont, Scully has developed a program to help high-risk pregnant patients with neurological concerns and started the only Neurology Infusion Center in the Army dedicated to the support of patients with neuro-immune conditions like multiple sclerosis. She also mentors interns and residents from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
The mother of seven, three adopted, also has volunteered her time and fostered a relationship between the Department of Defense and Project Amistad, which serves the elderly and persons with disabilities. She’s helped them write grants, train staff and build the Sun Carnival Float, Bañales said.
When she retires from the U.S. Army, she plans to practice in El Paso, which she considers her home.