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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Surgeons’ and Emergency Physicians’ Perceptions of Trauma Management and Training


Objective: The study objective was to determine whether surgeons and emergency medicine physicians (EMPs) have differing opinions on trauma residency training and trauma management in clinical practice.

Methods: A survey was mailed to 250 EMPs and 250 surgeons randomly selected.

Results: Fifty percent of surgeons perceived that surgery exclusively managed trauma compared to 27% of EMPs. Surgeons were more likely to feel that only surgeons should manage trauma on presentation to the ED. However, only 60% of surgeons currently felt comfortable with caring for the trauma patient, compared to 84% of EMPs. Compared to EMPs, surgeons are less likely to feel that EMPs can initially manage the trauma patient (71% of surgeons vs. 92% of EMPs).

Conclusion: EMPs are comfortable managing trauma while many surgeons do not feel comfortable with the complex trauma patient although the majority of surgeons responded that surgeons should manage the trauma.

[WestJEM. 2009;10:144-149.]

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