Department of Surgery

Trauma and Acute Care Research

Media Component
Scott Holmes
OR transfusion

Baylor College of Medicine surgeons provide important evidenced-based care for some of Houston’s most acutely injured patients. Faculty from the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery staff the trauma center at Harris Health’s Ben Taub Hospital. Our surgeons integrate the best of science and innovative technology with sound outcomes research as they treat patients suffering life-threatening injuries caused by blunt and ballistic trauma. Patients with acute surgical illness due to causes other than trauma at Ben Taub, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center are treated by division clinicians who specialize in emergency general surgery and the management of critically ill patients in the intensive care unit. 

Dr. Chad Wilson, associate professor of surgery and trauma director at Ben Taub, is site PI for Department of Defense-funded LITES (Linking Investigations in Trauma and Emergency Services) multisite projects. This comprehensive outcomes initiative will cover pre-hospital trauma care through post-discharge recovery and is expected to provide some of the most extensive data collection ever undertaken on trauma cases. Baylor is one of the eight institutions chosen to participate in the network’s initial study assessing U.S. regional variations in injury as well as treatment and survival. It will soon begin a new LITES project on the promising use of cold stored platelets for trauma patients with acute hemorrhage. 

Surgeon-scientists within the division also have a particular interest in the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to allow recovery for those in severe respiratory failure who cannot be effectively managed by conventional ventilation. Dr. Subhasis Chatterjee has participated in a recently published case study evaluating the use of ECMO in perioperative adult respiratory distress syndrome and a retrospective study evaluating heparin protocols for ECMO patients. Other faculty research interests have included the repair of vascular injuries, splenic injury management, systemic inflammation and immune response following peripheral tissue injury, disparities research and global surgery initiatives, as well as topics related to resource utilization during the pandemic to maintain timely surgical care to non-COVID patients.  

Surgeons and advanced practice clinicians who specialize in care for the critically ill patient are an integral part of our division. Studies in critical care outcomes research have set standards for the safest and most effective care through best practices based on the latest science. Researchers have also addressed non-technical skills, such as team communication dynamics within the operating theater, meticulous handoffs between the OR and critical care units, and uncompromising care coordination among specialists who have adopted systems to eliminate human error. 

Within Acute Care Surgery, our general surgeons have special interests in care for patients with an open abdomen and the development of innovative methodologies for complex abdominal wall reconstruction. Translational nanoscientist Dr. Ghanashyam Acharya, in tandem with division surgeons, is developing exciting new biomaterials to create a better surgical mesh for abdominal repairs. Surgeon and health services researcher Dr. Michele Loor is working to establish long overdue evidenced-based activity guidelines for the prevention of post-surgical complications after abdominal surgeries. 

Dr. Bradford G. Scott, professor and vice-chair for education, is improving the training of the next generation of surgeons. In addition to his own research interests in complex abdominal surgeries as a general surgeon, he is also participating in studies to improve general surgery residency programs and evaluate the impact of national educational requirements on the quality of these programs. His residents are participating in the SECOND trial that tracks resident well-being across the U.S. in order to optimize the learning environment and prevent burnout.