Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death in the United States for patients under 40. When injuries are severe enough to require emergency surgery, patients may be treated by a trauma surgeon, a doctor who specializes in providing surgical help to save critically injured patients.
Due to the nature of their work, trauma surgeons are most often located in emergency departments of hospitals. The specialty is closely related to emergency medicine and acute care surgery, but trauma surgery specifically focuses on surgical care needed to repair sudden and unexpected physical injuries.
Some examples of the kinds of injuries and procedures that a trauma surgeon might see include:
Blunt trauma, such as a car accident or fall
Penetrating trauma, such as a gunshot, stab wound, or deep cut
Crushing trauma, such as some work or machinery accidents
Tracheostomy, an emergency surgery to open a blocked airway
Trauma surgeons work with patients of all ages, from babies to senior citizens, that arrive in the emergency room. They do the critical work of resuscitating and stabilizing patients who may be near death. They are able to make quick decisions about what care is needed and the best way to provide it. By providing urgent expertise and surgery in an emergency, they save lives.