Trauma surgeon becomes consultant: Evaluation of a protocol for management of intermediate-level trauma patients

Sara C. Fallon, David Delemos, Daniel Christopher, Mary Frost, David E. Wesson, Bindi Naik-Mathuria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose At our level 1 pediatric trauma center, 9-54 intermediate-level ("level 2") trauma activations are received per month. Previously, the surgery team was required to respond to and assume responsibility for all patients who had "level 2" trauma activations. In 8/2011, we implemented a protocol where the emergency room (ER) physician primarily manages these patients with trauma consultation for surgical evaluation or admission. The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate the effects of the new protocol to ensure that patient safety and quality of care were maintained. Methods We compared outcomes of patients treated PRE-implementation (10/2010-7/2011) and POST-implementation (9/2011-5/2012), including surgeon consultation rate, utilization of imaging and laboratory testing, ER length of stay, admission rate, and missed injuries or readmissions. Statistical analysis included chi-square and Student's t-test. Results We identified 472 patients: 179 in the PRE and 293 in the POST period. The populations had similar baseline clinical characteristics. The surgical consultation rate in the POST period was only 42%, with no missed injuries or readmissions. The ER length of stay did not change. However, in the POST period there were significant decreases in the admission rate (73% to 44%) and the mean number of CT scans (1.4 to 1), radiographs (2.4 to 1.7), and laboratory tests (5.1 to 3.3) ordered in the emergency room (all p < 0.001). Conclusion Intermediate-level pediatric trauma patients can be efficiently and safely managed by pediatric emergency room physicians, with surgical consultation only as needed. The protocol change improved resource utilization by decreasing testing and admissions and streamlining resident utilization in an era of reduced duty hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-183
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Intermediate-level trauma
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Quality improvement
  • Resource utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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