In the field of emergency medicine, the term trauma refers to a physical trauma experienced by the body. It is usually due to a severe and life-threatening injury after enduring a sudden impact.
Traumatic injuries are extremely dangerous since the body can go into systemic shock. Moreover, vital organs can stop functioning. That is where a trauma doctor comes in, to stifle the injury and quickly take corrective steps to repair it.
More than 200,000 Americans die from injuries every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Immediate medical intervention is therefore essential for a trauma injury, and the intervention must be performed by highly experienced professionals: trauma doctors.
What Do Trauma Doctors Do?
Trauma physicians are trained to quickly evaluate, diagnose, and stabilize patients who have sustained a physically traumatic injury. These patients have often experienced a car accident, physical assault, high-impact sports injury, or a fall.
Trauma doctors are responsible for treating bone fractures, cuts, internal injuries, burns, and shock. They also perform surgery to repair blunt-force injuries. Their job often requires operating on several critical injuries in the same person in order to save the person’s life. These surgeons must have confidence in their decisions, primarily since they often work with incomplete information.
Trauma doctors are required to address things in a particular order; they are responsible for prioritizing which of the patient’s injuries need treatment first. They also determine the order in which the diagnostic and operative procedures should be done.
- Usually, they first stop the bleeding.
- Then, they eliminate any contamination threat to the wounds.
- Next, the trauma doctor decides on the next steps – whether the patient is stable enough for immediate surgery (if necessary) or if the patient should be sent to the intensive care unit (ICU).
What Do Trauma Doctors Treat?
Traumatic injuries often include the following:
- Spine fractures and spinal cord injury
- Sudden amputation
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Crush injury
- Acoustic trauma
- Broken or dislocated jaw
- Skull fracture
- Severe cuts and puncture wounds
There are several types of physical trauma, and they are classified by the affected body parts and the extent of the injury. Traumatic injuries most often involve the brain, spine, chest, or abdomen.
Trauma Doctor vs. ER Doctors
The emergency room (ER) has two types of doctors: trauma surgeons and emergency room doctors. Both respond to emergencies, but the difference lies in what they do for the patient.
An ER doctor’s and a trauma surgeon’s skill sets are different. ER doctors will treat anyone who comes into the emergency room regardless of their illness or injury. They do this while assessing the patient, deciding further treatment, and stabilizing the patient.
On the other hand, trauma surgeons are not always stationed in the ER. They are called upon if trauma patients require surgical, life-saving intervention.
Training for trauma surgery is a significantly longer process than training to be an ER physician. They must remain updated about managing different types of injuries and the latest techniques.
Trauma Specialists in Greater Cleveland
If you experience any musculoskeletal trauma, our orthopedic trauma specialists at Orthopaedic Associates are ready to provide immediate treatment for you. Your health is our number-one priority.
If you are interested in knowing more about our trauma doctors and other services we offer, call our office today at (440) 892-1440. You can also schedule an appointment online. We are here to serve you.