The academic trauma center is a model for the future trauma and acute care surgeon.
ABSTRACT Strategies to prevent the extinction of the trauma surgeon have focused on increasing the operative potential by including nontrauma general surgery emergencies. Although providing comprehensive emergent surgical care by the trauma service may seem novel, our institution has embraced this concept for the past 25 years. Recent discussions on the future of trauma surgery stimulated us to review our experience as a possible model for the future trauma and acute care surgeon.
We reviewed operative logs for 2002 and 2003 at our urban academic Level I trauma center. Six surgeons participate equally in call that covers trauma and nontrauma general surgical, thoracic, and vascular emergencies. Cases were classified as trauma, emergent, urgent, or according to the patient's clinical condition. The primary procedure for each operation was classified according to the American Board of Surgery Case Reporting System.
We performed 4,082 operations during the study period, of which 8% were trauma, 11% were emergent, 40% were urgent, and 41% were elective. Abdominal and alimentary procedures accounted for 53% of all operations. Vascular, thoracic, and head and neck procedures accounted for 22%, 14%, and 9% of procedures, respectively.
To resurrect our discipline, we must reclaim and expand our operative potential and be relieved of our excessive night and weekend burden of serving as housestaff for the neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and interventional radiologists. The trauma surgeon can effectively manage trauma and acute care surgery emergencies including thoracic and vascular conditions. Education of the future trauma and acute care surgeon must include specialty training in thoracic and vascular surgery.
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ABSTRACT: Although acute care general surgery (ACS) coverage by trauma surgeons may help re-invigorate the field of trauma surgery, introducing additional responsibilities to an already overburdened system may negatively impact the trauma patient. Our purpose was to determine the impact on the trauma patient of a progressive integration of ACS coverage into a trauma service. Data from a university, Level I trauma registry was retrospectively reviewed to compare demographics, injury severity, complications, and outcomes over a 6-year period. During this study period, the trauma service treated only trauma patients for 32 months, then added ACS coverage 2 days per week for 32 months, and then expanded to 4 days per week coverage for 9 months. Trauma patients admitted during periods of ACS coverage were not different with respect to gender, mechanism of injury, Revised Trauma Score, or Glasgow Coma Score; however, they were slightly older and had slightly higher injury severity scores. As ACS coverage progressively increased, trauma patients had an increase in ventilator days (P < 0.0001), intensive care unit length of stay (P < 0.0001), and hospital length of stay (P < 0.0001). Occurrences of neurologic, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and infectious complications were similar during all three time periods, whereas cardiac and renal complications progressively increased after ACS coverage was added. Mortality remained unchanged after ACS integration.The American surgeon 06/2008; 74(6):494-501; discussion 501-2. · 1.28 Impact Factor