Trauma & Acute Care Surgery at Elliot Hospital
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a Trauma Surgeon?
- A Trauma Surgeon is an individual who has successfully completed medical school and a five year general surgery. During that five years of training, that surgeon learns how to care for the traumatically injured patient and is able to differentiate which patients need an emergency operation and which don't. There is no dedicated trauma surgical training fellowship for after you have completed your general surgery training. However, most trauma surgeons have gone on to do a surgical fellowship in surgical critical care or acute care surgery. This is on average an additional 1-2 years of training in surgical ICU care, non-trauma related surgical emergencies and trauma surgery.
2. Can a Trauma Surgeon perform general surgery too?
(ex: remove a breast cancer, do a colonoscopy, remove a sick gallbladder) - YES. Given that all trauma surgeons have completed a five year general surgical residency and most are board certified in general surgery, they do elective surgical cases such as hernia repairs, removal of cancers, etc.
3. What is a Surgical Intensivist / Surgical Critical Care Physician?
- A surgical intensivist is a general surgeon who has completed additional training and board certification in taking care of surgical patients in a ICU setting. Often time these are extremely sick patients who have had surgery or who have been injured very badly. The surgical intensivist has special in training on how to take care of these patients and balancing the needs of all of their many body organ systems that are failing. This would include managing the breathing machine (ventilator), performing special bedside procedures such as; safe placement of intra-arterial lines, large IVs in the neck or chest (central lines), using a camera to look at the inside of the lungs (bronchoscopy), stomach (esophagoscopy), or colon (colonoscopy / sigmoidoscopy) and even performing surgery in the ICU if the patient is too sick to be taken to an operating room theatre. One could think of a Surgical Intensivist as a surgeon and an intensive care physician put together.
4. Do Trauma Surgeons take care of kids?
- YES. Most trauma centers will take care of any patient despite their age and then transfer them to the appropriate center if needed.
5. Is it important to know what level trauma center is in my community?
- YES. Any trauma center has the emergency medicine personnel and surgical personnel to take care of and stabilize any patient. All trauma center have the capacity to quickly and safely evaluate the patient’s needs and provide them or transfer them to a facility that can if they don't have the resources for definitive care. However, as a Level 2 Trauma Center, the Elliot has been certified by the state to have an elevated capacity and readiness to respond to a wider diversity of surgical and traumatic emergencies. The level 2 status declares a faculties commitment to have the resources available and the standard of care equal to the best trauma center in the country. This means that your loved ones will receive the highest level of care possible throughout their hospital stay, equal to the quality available anywhere across the country but right her at home, in Manchester NH.
6. What is acute care surgery?
-Acute care surgery is often described as a surgical emergency that was not a result of a traumatic accident but requiring immediate attention from a surgeon or critical care physician. This includes rapid assessment and initiation of life saving interventions including emergent surgical intervention if required. Some examples of this are; sever bleeding from the intestines or stomach, severe infections of the pancreas, or a rupture or perforation of the colon because of a tumor or severe infection, but also more common needs such as appendicitis or a “gallbladder attack (cholecystitis) in adults or children.