No one expects to be in a traumatic accident, yet they're more common than you might imagine. According to the National Trauma Institute, trauma is the number one cause of death for people age one to 46, even ahead of heart disease and cancer. Care for patients with traumatic injuries, acute surgical emergencies, shock, sepsis, respiratory failure and advanced multi-organ failure require special training and expertise.
"Surgical Critical Care (SCC) is a specialty that focuses on caring for patients with acute or potentially life-threatening surgical conditions and understanding the relationship between surgical procedures and critical surgical illness," says Robert Maxwell, M.D., surgical critical care specialist at University Surgical Associates. "The surgical critical care fellowship offered through the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga (UTCOM-C), Department of Surgery, offers clinical training that's focused on cutting-edge, evidence-based experiences in trauma, emergency general surgery and surgical critical care."
The SCC fellowship was the first fellowship initiated at UTCOM-C and is one of three such programs offered at the state's major academic teaching centers and safety net hospitals. The faculty for the training program are all double boarded in SCC and general surgery. They manage patients with various surgical conditions that require recovery in an ICU with various types of life support techniques.
"Critical care specialists are not only surgeons – they're also more knowledgeable about the whole patient condition. The surgical care at a Level 1 trauma center like Erlanger, combined with the advanced training of surgical critical care specialists, means you'll receive the most up-to-date and advanced care available – exactly what you need when you or a family member is critically ill or facing a life-threatening condition," says Benjamin Dart, M.D., surgical critical care specialist at USA.
In addition to their advanced training in the diagnosis and management of complex problems in critically ill patients, USA's surgical critical care specialists conduct research in certain areas such as infection prevention and management of different types of traumatic injuries such as mandibular fractures, pancreatic injuries and vascular trauma.
What does this mean for you? No matter how carefully you plan, no one knows when an emergency will happen. But if the unexpected occurs, you can have confidence that you'll receive the very best care available today – the kind of care that you've come to expect from University Surgical Associates.
"As teachers we must stay current on the latest practices, and our academic responsibilities require our team to attend major medical conferences every year to learn about the new technology for critically ill patients. We are dedicated to staying at the top of our field," says Dr. Maxwell. "We are the only hospital within 100 mile radius that offers the level of care available at Erlanger Medical Center. Whether it's trauma, acute care surgery or highly skilled post-surgical care, we are trained and ready to address the most difficult cases in our region."