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Clinical Congress 2020
October 3-7, 2020

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Captain Frank K. Butler, Jr., MD, receives Distinguished Military Lifetime Achievement Award from American College of Surgeons

CHICAGO CHICAGO (October 4, 2020; 9:00 pm CDT):: Retired U.S. Navy Captain Frank K. Butler, Jr., MD, FAAO, FUHM, received the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Distinguished Military Lifetime Achievement Award last night during the Convocation ceremony that preceded the opening of the College's virtual Clinical Congress 2020, one of the largest international meetings of surgeons in the world. The award recognizes Dr. Butler’s outstanding contributions to the field of surgery during military service. Dr. Butler is the second recipient of the Distinguished Military Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award citation details how Dr. Butler’s “forward-thinking to train and equip every soldier with personal medical kits redefined battlefield surgical management by delivering critical medical care at the point of injury and saving thousands of lives.”

Dr. Butler is a former Navy SEAL platoon commander who went on to become a Navy Diving Medical Officer and an ophthalmologist. He recently retired from government service after 11 years as the Chair of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC), a component of the DoD’s Joint Trauma System. While on active duty in the Navy, he developed the concept of Tactical Combat Casualty Care in 1996 and spearheaded the founding of the CoTCCC, a 42-member group comprised of subject matter experts in trauma care from all services in the US military, in 2001. For the last two decades, the CoTCCC has guided the development of battlefield trauma care advances for the U.S. military.  TCCC concepts were first adopted by the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams, the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, the U.S. Air Force Pararescue Community, and the Army Special Missions Unit. TCCC has now been recognized as the standard of care throughout the U.S. military and has been responsible for saving several thousand American lives in the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. TCCC is also now used by other government agencies, law enforcement and fire organizations, and most allied militaries.

Dr. Butler’s call to action to train and the equip every U.S. soldier on the battlefield with  tourniquets and hemostatic dressings was revolutionary and these advances have now been adopted by the civilian sector, helping to redefine the delivery of prehospital trauma care and reduce the time required to control life-threatening external hemorrhage in critically injured patients. This work was the cornerstone of the collaboration between the ACS and the DoD.

Dr. Butler served on the White House advisory team on civilian IED Injuries, and is a founding member of the Hartford Consensus Working Group, which developed a set of expert recommendations to improve the rate of survival for people with severe bleeding. These recommendations were the foundation for STOP THE BLEED®, a national public awareness campaign launched in October 2015 by the White House with a call to action to begin training more people to become immediate responders until professional help arrives.

Dr. Butler’s many awards and honors include the 2017 Medical Health System Research Symposium Distinguished Service Award, the 2015 Military Health System Battlefield Medicine Innovation Award (co-winner), the U.S. Special Operations Command Medal (2012), the 2010 Auerbach Award for contributions to wilderness medicine, and the Dr. Norman McSwain Award for Leadership in Prehospital Trauma Life Support in 2009. He was also the first recipient of the TCCC Award for Outstanding contributions to Tactical Combat Casualty Care in 2006, now named the “CAPT Frank K. Butler” award and presented annually by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care. In 2017, the road from the airfield to the Navy forward surgical hospital at a U.S. Base in Iraq was named “Frank Butler Boulevard” in recognition of Dr. Butler’s pioneering accomplishments in battlefield trauma care.

The Distinguished Lifetime Military Contribution Award was established by the Board of Regents’ Honors Committee in 2018 to recognize a physician’s distinguished contributions to the advancement of military surgery. Recipients for this Award must be a physician with a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of military surgical care but are not required to be in an active medical practice.

About Captain Frank K. Butler, Jr., MD, FAAO, FUHM

Dr. Butler is the founder of the US military’s Tactical Combat Casualty Care program and was its leader for 25 years. Dr. Butler earned his undergraduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1971. After successfully completing the Navy’s rigorous SEAL training course, he served as a platoon commander in Underwater Demolition Team Twelve and SEAL Team One. Dr. Butler then went on to earn his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 1980 and did his internship in Family Medicine at the Navy Regional Medical Center in Jacksonville, Fla. He then completed Navy Undersea Medical Officer training at the Navy Undersea Medical Institute, Groton, Conn., and was assigned as a diving medical research officer at the Navy Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, Fla., for 5 years, where his research efforts led to significant advances in most of the diving techniques used by Navy SEALs. Dr. Butler then completed an ophthalmology residency at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. While assigned as the Head of Ophthalmology at Naval Hospital, Pensacola, he was also named the Director of the Navy SEAL Biomedical Research Program in 1990. He deployed as the Task Force Surgeon for a joint Special Operations task force in Afghanistan in 2003 and was shortly thereafter selected to be the first Navy physician to serve as the Command Surgeon for the U.S. Special Operations Command. He retired from that position in 2006 after 30 years in the Navy. Dr. Butler was subsequently selected to be the Chair of the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, a position in which he served for 11 years. He has been married to his wife, Debbie, for 48 years and they have 4 grown children – Jennifer, Jeff, Chris, and Meredith.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A photo of Dr. Butler is available on request from the ACS Office of Public Information, after October 7. Email: pressinquiry@facs.org.

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About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 82,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.