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A Day in the Life of a Trauma Surgeon

As a physician, working at a trauma center can be one of the most fast-paced jobs you can have in medicine, and that’s a big part of what I find most rewarding. I love being able to make an impact and seeing the results fairly quickly. I see people every day who, when they come in, are severely injured, sometimes critically injured and even near death. These days, we’re really blessed to have all the technology we have, which lets us intervene and hopefully treat them successfully. 

Often times, I’m able to keep up with patients after they’ve recovered and possibly gone through rehab. They’ll send me a Facebook message, and I’ll see how their lives are going and how they're spending time enjoying their lives with their families. With some of them, you know how badly it could have gone. It may have been a really close call, and they could have died, but instead they’re home with a newborn baby. It gives me such a strong sense of gratitude that I get to be part of an organization whose efforts allow people to continue living their lives.

This is what gets me up every morning so I can be here ready to start my day by six o’clock. When we get to work, we always do a morning checkout where we go through all the patients from the night before to make sure we know what’s going on with each of them. By about 7:30 a.m., I start my rounds, which takes about three hours. I usually have about 30 patients to see, and they include everything from traumatically injured patients to emergency general surgery patients dealing with things like perforated colons, gall bladder problems or appendicitis

Of course, like a lot of people, my job includes meetings to discuss how our processes are working and how we can improve the protocols.We also have meetings about individual cases that may be a little more challenging or complex. Plus, because we’re a Level 1 Trauma Center, we’re required to be a teaching center and are expected to participate actively in research. So we have meetings to discuss the research and the findings.

To me, the truly unique thing about our trauma center at the Orlando Regional Medical Center is that it’s part of our culture to treat every patient as if they are a member of our own family. It’s really difficult to do that if the entire team doesn’t get along and work well together. Everybody I work with really enjoys the work we do, and we all enjoy working with each other. We all have a similar approach to our practice and get along extremely well. That can be somewhat of a rarity in trauma centers, generally speaking, because there are a lot of egos involved. With our group, though, most of us have worked together for at least ten years, and we have great camaraderie among us, and we communicate well with each other. And you can’t understate how much that helps us provide the best possible treatment to our patients.

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