Trauma is the branch of surgical medicine that deals with treating injuries caused by an impact. Many trauma patients are the victims of car crashes, stabbings, and gunshot wounds. Trauma can also be caused by falls, crush- type injuries, and pedestrians being struck by a car. Trauma doctors evaluate, diagnose, stabilize, and manage patients who have experienced an injury of this type. Trauma surgery encompasses the most severe, life-threatening, penetrating, and blunt force injuries; it involves operating on critical and often multiple injuries to different organ systems.
In the case of severe trauma, such as a catastrophic car crash, the trauma surgeon may be one part of a surgical team that includes vascular surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and other surgeons as needed. Trauma surgeons often lead the team and decide which tests to order and what specialists to call in on the case.
Patients are resuscitated, given fluids, and sometimes ventilated, their injuries are assessed, and physicians determine what sorts of surgical interventions, if any, they require. The work is intense, but methodical. Trauma surgeons address things in specific order – stop bleeding first; then stop any contamination occurring from holes in the gastrointestinal tract. Depending on whether the patient is stable, the surgeon makes the decision to either surgically address all of the patient’s needs at that time or have them taken to an intensive care unit to try to stabilize the patient and get them strong enough for surgery on another day.
The duties of these surgeons don’t end in the operating room; trauma doctors monitor patients in the intensive care unit and on the hospital floor during the course of their recovery. In addition, because traumas can happen at all hours, 365 days a year, trauma doctors work around the clock.
Being the victim of trauma does not just cause physical injuries. Trauma patients may be afraid, confused and depressed. Dr. Johnson is not only a knowledgeable and experienced surgeon, but he also understands the emotional aspects of a trauma and is a compassionate and empathetic professional who knows how to help patients during all stages of a traumatic injury.