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

Deployed military surgeons connect live to San Diego sessions

OCTOBER 23, 2017
Clinical Congress Daily Highlights, Monday Second Edition

For the first time, military surgeons stationed around the world remotely joined colleagues for the annual meeting of the Excelsior Surgical Society. The society of military surgeons met in San Diego on Sunday in conjunction with the 2017 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), in a daylong event focusing on surgical readiness. The proceedings were livestreamed to society members stationed in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, at the Joint Trauma System in San Antonio and the military’s medical school at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD, and to confidential locations.

The Excelsior Surgical Society was created after World War II as a forum for surgeons who served in the war to discuss their experiences. Sun-downed in 1984 due to attrition, it was revived as an official society within the ACS two years ago, allowing a new generation of surgeons returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to gather and share lessons learned. The society also serves as a forum for presentations by military surgeons conducting basic and clinical research.

“The Excelsior Surgical Society has allowed surgeons from different branches of the military, as well as surgeons working in civilian trauma care, to gather together and identify important lessons from the battlefield that can benefit patients at home, as well as lessons from civilian care that can be translated into the deployed setting,” said M. Margaret (Peggy) Knudson, MD, FACS, medical director of the Military Health System Strategic Partnership American College of Surgeons (MHSSPACS). “This year, we wanted to further facilitate those discussions by including surgeons currently deployed, so that we could hear directly from those serving around the world as we address the critical need to maintain surgical readiness.”

Speakers at this year’s meeting addressed the current state of surgical readiness and steps military and civilian health systems can take together to ensure readiness for future conflicts. The day’s events also included the Committee on Trauma Military Resident paper competition, scientific abstract presentations from military treatment facilities, Recognition of Excellence awards, and a town hall session. Informal breakfast and luncheon sessions allowed for exchanges with program directors and the surgeon advisers to the Surgeon Generals of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Forging stronger ties between the military and civilian health systems is a key priority for the MHSSPACS, which was launched in late 2014. In addition to supporting the Excelsior Surgical Society, the MHSSPACS is developing a pre-deployment intensive trauma training course designed to prepare surgeons to care for troops injured in combat, as well as victims of mass causality events. MHSSPACS also supports the Joint Trauma System Defense Center of Excellence to ensure that the military trauma system created during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remains intact between conflicts, and advocates for increased trauma research funding for studies that cannot be conducted in a war zone.

“To continue advancing trauma care at home and on the battlefield and save more lives, we must bring our military and civilian trauma systems together. All patients will benefit from lessons learned on the battlefield and from the more than 50 years of advances in civilian trauma care across the United States,” Dr. Knudson said.

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