TRAUMA SURGERY is a surgical subspecialty dealing with both operative and non-operative management of acutely injured adults and children. Trauma Surgeons work in major medical centers and have a primary responsibility for initial resuscitation, stabilization, and surgical management of trauma patients. Trauma Surgeons are certified by the American Board of Surgery and typically complete an additional two-year fellowship in Trauma. They treat a broad range of penetrating trauma including gunshot wounds and stab wounds, as well as blunt trauma injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents, falls, and altercations. While Trauma Surgeons address nearly all injuries of the neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and extremities, they may also consult specialists from other fields such as Orthopedic Surgery. Trauma Surgeons also serve as the admitting team for complex trauma patients even when the patient does not require emergency surgery. Such patients are typically admitted to a Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU). Trauma Surgeons also perform emergency and “after hours” general surgery procedures including appendectomy.
Malpractice claims against Trauma Surgeons are rare, though may stem from allegations of missed or delayed diagnosis. More commonly, Trauma Surgery experts educate courts on patterns of traumatic injuries and mechanisms of trauma.