Trauma medicine is the field within medicine that deals with the evaluation and management of severely injured and critically ill patients including those with severe infections and organ failure. In addition, these specialists coordinate patient care among the patient’s other specialties.
The cases that are managed by the trauma team can be diverse and can range from a simple scratch to serious injuries like blast injuries. In particular, some of the common conditions managed by the trauma team are as follows:
- Motor vehicular accident—vehicular injuries are one of the most common causes of trauma worldwide. Injuries from vehicular collisions can be quite serious because it can involve multiple body parts in varying degrees of severity.
- Fall—fall from a significant height can be life threatening. It can cause multiple fractures and, most importantly, traumatic brain injury.
- Gunshot wound—gunshot wounds or shot gun wounds are of particular importance in trauma surgery, especially with the increasing crime rates and increasing availability of firearms.
- Stab wound—stab wounds, or penetrating injuries due to sharp objects, are also one of the common injuries treated by the trauma team. Stab wounds to the neck or to the chest are of particular importance because penetrating injuries to these parts can be immediately life-threatening.
- Mauling—mauling, or blunt physical injuries that are intentionally caused by another person, are also commonly encountered in Trauma medicine. This kind of injury can be as mild as an abrasion or as severe as injuries causing fracture, internal hemorrhage or brain injury.
Because of the wide variety of injuries that are managed by the Trauma team, it is necessarily composed of multiple specialties.
- Emergency medicine specialist—these specialists are typically the first to receive the trauma patients and provide first aid for critical cases while waiting for the trauma specialist
- Trauma Surgeon—a surgeon typically leads the trauma team because most trauma cases are surgical in nature, i.e., lacerations, gunshot wounds, stab wound, and others
- Orthopedic surgeon—orthopedic surgeons manage injuries of the musculoskeletal system, particularly fractures, sprains, strains, etc.
- Anesthesiologist—anesthesiologists work together with the surgeons to provide adequate pain control and sedation as needed in operative procedures.
- Internist—internists like pulmonologists, cardiologists, infectious disease specialists, clinical nutritionists and intensivists are vital in the management of trauma patients, especially those with critical injuries requiring ICU admission. Most traumatic injuries are multi-systemic in nature, and all injuries require an optimal cardiovascular, pulmonary, and nutritional status for faster healing.
- Neurologist/Neurosurgeon—neurologists and neurosurgeons work together to manage patients who sustained head or spine trauma