Trauma is the branch of surgical medicine that deals with treating injuries often involving fractures. Many trauma patients are the victims of car crashes, falls from a height, stabbings and gunshot wounds. Trauma can also be caused by ground level falls, crush injuries and pedestrians being struck by a car. More than half of patients admitted to most trauma centers have musculoskeletal injuries. Providing optimal care for these patients is an essential task.
In the case of severe trauma, such as a catastrophic car crash, the trauma surgeon may be one part of a surgical team that includes vascular surgeons (to repair damage to blood vessels), orthopaedic surgeons (to repair broken bones) and other surgeons as needed. The trauma surgeon is responsible for prioritizing such procedures and for designing the overall treatment plan. This process starts as soon as the patient arrives in the emergency department.