VISION:  Improve the lives of all those affected by or at risk of traumatic injury.

Definitive Surgical Trauma Care (DSTC) Course

Injury (trauma) remains a major health care problem throughout the world. In addition to improving prevention and resuscitation, improved application of surgical skills is expected to save further lives and contribute to minimizing disability. It is widely recognized that training of surgeons in the management of trauma is substantially deficient because of:

(a) Limited exposure within individual training programs to the types of patients required to develop the appropriate level of skills and

(b) Traditional trauma surgery training, which has been organ specific but not well grounded in the management of multiply injured patients with competing priorities.

Consequently surgeons can finish training with sub-optimal skills in this field where there is often little time to contemplate an appropriate course of action.

Through the early 90's it became apparent, to a number of surgeons familiar with trauma management around the world, that there was a specific need for surgical training in decision making and the technical aspects of operative care of the trauma patient, placing particular emphasis on those who were close to, or had recently completed their training. DSTC had its origins in a meeting between Howard Champion (USA), David Mulder (Canada), Donald Trunkey (USA), Stephen Deane (Australia) and Abe Fingerhut (France) in October 1993.

This postgraduate surgical course for 20 participants assumes competence with assessment and resuscitative measures, which have become standardized in North America through The American College of Surgeons ATLS® Course. It draws on the specialist surgical training of all course participants and reviews, strengthens and organizes the performance of established and new procedures specially required in trauma surgery. Courses have been conducted in Europe, USA, Asia and Australia. It is expected that this standardized course will have special relevance for surgeons in countries like Canada and Australia, where major trauma rates are relatively low and to rapidly mobilized medical units in areas of conflict. It is also likely to be valuable in developing countries where education and physical resources are limited.

DSTC has developed in many continents under the umbrella of IATSIC, International Association for Trauma Surgery and Intensive Care. This fourth Canadian DSTC Course is being promoted by the Trauma Association of Canada and Trauma Services, Vancouver General Hospital. Increasingly it is being recognized that DSTC is an outstanding educational event meeting the very real needs of surgeons caring for the injured. 

A mixture of manual and lecture based learning, case discussion and surgical skills demonstration and practice.

• Manual addressing “Physiology and Organ Support”, decision making in trauma surgery and surgical techniques.
• Two theory sessions addressing technical surgical strategies
• Two sessions addressing strategic thinking in Trauma Surgery
• Two practical session addressing technical surgical strategies
• One session on troubleshooting

The course will run for two days with the following course materials:

• A manual to supplement the course content
• Standardized Slides
• Practical and technical skill stations
• Patient scenarios in acute trauma surgery
• Practical work laboratory using animals and cadavers
• Participant members are limited to 20 in DSTC courses with a high faculty to participant ratio, allowing for two faculty 
  members to four participants in hands-on practical skill sessions.

This session will provide hands-on exposure to operative techniques in a small group with a high faculty/participant ratio.


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