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Creating an Emergency General Surgery Service Enhances the Productivity of Trauma Surgeons, General Surgeons and the Hospital

Austin, Mary T. MD; Diaz, Jose J. Jr MD; Feurer, Irene D. PhD; Miller, Richard S. MD; May, Addison K. MD; Guillamondegui, Oscar D. MD; Pinson, C Wright MD, MBA; Morris, John A. MD

The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care: May 2005 - Volume 58 - Issue 5 - p 906-910
doi: 10.1097/01.TA.0000162139.36447.FA
Article Titles

Background: Several models that integrate trauma and emergency general surgery (EGS) have been proposed to provide a diverse and challenging operative practice for trauma surgeons and improve recruitment. In July 2002, our institution established a 24/7 EGS consult service, staffed primarily by critical care/trauma surgeons (CCTS). The objective of this report was to evaluate the impact of this new service on CCTS, general surgeons (GS) and the hospital.

Methods: All admissions to CCTS and GS from July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2003 were reviewed by querying hospital and physician databases for demographics, diagnoses, operative intervention(s), and resource utilization. Data were analyzed using nonparametric methods.

Results: [See Table 1]. 9,405 admissions were identified, with GS and EGS admissions increasing over time. In July 2002, EGS became a separate service and captured 26% of GS admissions. Hospital-wide trauma admissions remained stable despite a slight decrease in trauma admissions to CCTS. A decrease in trauma operations by CCTS was offset by an increased EGS operative volume. EGS included “bread and butter” GS procedures including appendectomies and cholecystectomies and complex surgical procedures. EGS patients were often sicker with more than 50% requiring ICU admission compared with GS admissions of which only 10% required ICU care.

Table 1

Table 1

Conclusions: Departmental restructuring to include an EGS service: 1) increased CCTS volume despite decreased CCTS trauma admissions and operations; 2) increased elective GS volume; 3) generated increased use of ICU and operating room resources; and 4) demonstrated that CCTS with broad operative GS backgrounds and critical care knowledge can effectively staff an EGS service.

From the Department of Surgery, the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care, and the Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Submitted for publication September 14, 2004.

Accepted for publication January 13, 2005.

Address for reprints: Jose J. Diaz, Jr., MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, 243 Medical Center South, Nashville, TN; email:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.