American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Statement on Emergency Surgical Care

The following statement was developed by the Advisory Council for General Surgery and was approved by the Board of Regents at its February 2007 meeting.

The American College of Surgeons believes that it is the responsibility of all surgeons, regardless of their practice, to participate in their local system of emergency surgical care in order to provide for the health of the public. Emergency surgical care should be provided by surgeons who have completed an accredited residency; are board certified or are in the certification process; and possess the appropriate knowledge, experience, and skills for the delivery of emergency surgical care. This care should be patient centered, humane, responsive, and readily accessible to all.

We recognize that general surgeons with the proper training, knowledge, experience, and skills can provide optimal treatment for many surgical emergencies. Other available medical and surgical specialists should be consulted to enhance care when appropriate. Credentialing criteria for emergency surgical practice should be developed at the local level based on the surgeon’s qualifications, experience, and the community need. The treating surgeons should be responsible for providing coordination and continuity of surgical care.

We believe that this level of coordinated, skilled, optimal care can be delivered only if health care organizations commit the necessary resources and support, and appropriate reimbursement is provided by insurers and other responsible agencies.

Reprinted from Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons
Vol.92, No. 6, June 2007