In-House Attending Trauma Surgeon Does Not Reduce Mortality in Patients Presented to a Level 1 Trauma Center

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Abstract Background: Trauma is the leading cause of death in the Western world. Trauma systems have been paramount in opposing this problem. Commonly, Level 1 Trauma Centers are staffed by in-house (IH) attending trauma surgeons available 24/7, whereas other institutions function on an on-call (OC) basis with defined response times. There is on-going debate about the value of an IH attending trauma surgeon compared to OC trauma surgeons regarding clinical outcome. Methods: This study was performed at a tertiary care facility complying with all requirements to be a designated Level 1 Trauma Center as defined by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACSCOT). Inclusion occurred from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013. Patients were assigned an identifier for IH trauma surgeon attendance versus OC attendance. The primary outcome variable studied was overall mortality in relation to IH or OC attending trauma surgeons. Additionally, time to operating theater, hospital length-of-stay (HLOS), and intensive care unit (ICU) admittance were investigated. Results: A total of 1,287 unique trauma cases in 1,285 patients were presented to the trauma team. Of all cases, 712 (55.3%) occurred between 1700h and 0800h. These 712 cases were treated by an IH attending in 66.3% (n = 472) and an OC attending in 33.7% (n = 240). In the group of patients treated by an IH attending trauma surgeon, the overall mortality rate was 5.5% (n = 26); in the group treated by an OC attending, the overall mortality rate was 4.6% (n = 11; P = .599). Cause of death was traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 57.6%. No significant difference was found in the time between initial presentation at the trauma room and arrival in the operating theater. Conclusion: In terms of trauma-related mortality during non-office hours, no benefit was demonstrated through IH trauma surgeons compared to OC trauma surgeons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-377
Number of pages5
JournalPrehospital and disaster medicine
Issue number3
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2022


  • in-house attendance
  • mortality
  • non-office hours
  • preventable death
  • trauma surgeon

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