In-house versus on-call attending trauma surgeons at comparable level I trauma centers: A prospective study

Gerald B. Demarest, Gianna Scannell, Kristina Sanchez, Anne Dziwulski, Clifford Qualls, Carol R. Schermer, Roxie M. Albrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to prospectively compare patient outcomes based on the presence of in-house versus on-call attending trauma surgeons at comparable Level I trauma centers. Methods: Two designated Level I trauma centers agreed to prospectively review trauma admissions over a 6-month period, one institution with 24-hour in-house trauma attending surgeons (IH), and the other with trauma-attending surgeons taking call from home (OC) available to the hospital within 15 minutes of notification. A 6- month prospective study was conducted reviewing all trauma patients admitted to both trauma centers with an Injury Severity Score ≥16. Comparisons' were made between institutions utilizing admission demographics, clinical presentation, times to clinical care, and mortality rates. Results: In comparison, OC and IH institutions were distinctly different in geographic environment, size, and number of patients admitted. As a group, IH patients were significantly older, with higher Injury Severity Scores and lower Glasgow Coma Scale scores than the OC group. In all comparisons, OC trauma attending surgeons responded to the trauma room with equal speed or more rapidly when compared with IH trauma attending surgeons. There were no other significant differences in either population in times to provision of clinical care or in clinical outcome. Conclusion: The ability of the OC institution to be similar to the IH institution in its provision of clinical care and mortality rate is accomplished in an environment where trauma attending surgeons live within a 15-minute response time to the trauma center. Using a voice-paged trauma alert activation with accurate information and sufficient warning, evaluation, provision of care, and clinical outcome of the acutely injured patient can be provided equally by in-house trauma attending surgeons and trauma attending surgeons on-call from home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-542
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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