Background: Trauma surgery has changed significantly over the past decade. Nonoperative evidence-based algorithms have become common and surgical trauma volume has become increasingly difficult to maintain. The acute care surgery (ACS) model, which integrates trauma, critical care, and emergency surgery, has been proposed as a future model of trauma practice.
Methods: Database information from an academic, county-based, trauma center was reviewed. A performance improvement surgical procedure database and level I trauma registry from 2005 were used to evaluate one center's ACS practice.
Results: There were 2,276 cases performed by 7 full-time and 5 part-time surgeons. Elective cases accounted for 64% (1,480) of caseload, emergency/urgent general surgery accounted for 32% (719) of cases, and emergency trauma surgeries accounted for 4% (96 procedures in 77 patients). In all, 23% were performed after hours. The ACS model supported controllable hours, adequate surgical volume, excellent patient care, and an appealing clinical practice.
Conclusion: Surgical practice in a county-run trauma hospital can be similar to the ACS model, with positive results in terms of clinical volume and physician satisfaction. As clinical practices shift to the ACS model, there are lessons to be learned from currently existing, thriving, long-standing similar prototypes.