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Acute Care FAQ

Is acute care surgery only available in the emergency department?

No. The acute care surgical team is available to assist with surgical emergencies throughout the medical center. If a routine medical or surgical problem develops into an urgent surgical problem, our team is available around the clock to assist in the patient’s care.

This may be an important consideration when deciding where to get your non-emergency care.

How does having an acute care surgery team differ from care at my local hospital?

Hospitals with an acute care surgical team have surgeons available around the clock for face-to-face consultation and, if necessary, prepared to perform an operation within minutes.

Most emergency department doctors see patients with surgical problems and consult with the on-call surgeon over the phone to determine a treatment plan.

How does an acute care surgeon differ from an on-call surgeon at a community hospital?

A surgeon on an acute care surgical team manages acute surgical emergencies on a daily basis. Furthermore, acute care surgeons are fellowship-trained in surgical critical care. Surgeons who have an additional year or two of training in the management of critical illness and surgical emergencies are much better prepared to handle all types of emergency situations.

Another difference is that while general surgery training is standardized, the day-to-day practice of surgeons varies widely. Emergency departments face an increasingly difficult problem of finding surgeons willing to take night calls. As a result, the individual surgeon on call may or may not have experience managing emergency surgical problems. Problems as basic as acute appendicitis or cholecystitis may not be part of the usual practice for an on-call surgeon.

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