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The Ultimate Team

Surgical Rounds
Posted by Dr. McDearmont on 2012/1/14 8:00:00 (1588 reads)
Surgical Rounds

General surgery training can be an extremely high pressure environment. My general surgery practice today is a far cry from many of the experiences I had at UT Southwestern in Dallas from 1996 to 2001. Lessons I learned during those five years have not only helped me tremendously in my medical practice but in my everyday life and public service as well. The basis of any good medical team is working well with your colleagues.

A prime example of the team concept during my surgical training is the acutely injured trauma patient. These patients would come in from car collisions, gun violence, industrial accidents, burn injuries and many others. The severity of the injuries that we would see is hard to describe but the team that treated these injuries deserves mention and recognition. The trauma team begins with the resident physicians.

As a resident at Parkland in surgery, your life was not your own. Your life was your patient’s and your team’s. At the time of training this was incredibly difficult but in retrospect necessary for great top notch training. The physicians on the trauma team consisted of a staff physician and four residents with several medical students as well. When you were on “trauma call”, you were on duty in “the pit” which was the affectionate name for the emergency room at Parkland.

The team was like an engine that needed all cylinders firing to perform at top efficiency. As we waited, the engine idled, but when a trauma activation came down, the team went into action. Other members of the team included nurses, anesthesiologists, emergency room physicians, lab personnel, and radiology personnel. As the injured patient rolled into the room the team went to work with a strict division of labor designed for efficiency and quality.

Taking care of acutely injured patients required checking the ego at the door. This was more difficult for some than others. Traumatic injuries often need to be treated effectively within the “golden hour” of injury. If these injuries are not treated with efficiency and skill, the patient suffers. Some injuries are fatal and one of the hardest lessons to learn as physician is that you can do everything right and the patient may not live. No place was this more front and center than on the trauma hall.

Mutual respect, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to providing high quality care and saving lives kept the team firing on all cylinders. No matter where you came from or what role you played on the team, you were essential and respected. So when you hear the stories about medical care in the urban environment, remember the team in “the pit”. I can tell you from nine years spent in that environment that everyone gives their all everyday to provide top quality care and save lives.

Open in new windowScott McDearmont, MD, FACS is a board-certified general surgeon, practicing in Lewisville, TX since 2001. McDearmont is the current Mayor of Highland Village, TX where he lives with his wife DeAnna, his son Ryan, and his daughter, Kaitlyn.

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