My first exposure with ATLS was in San Diego in 1980 while I was a resident. The instructor course was conducted by Paul E. “Skip” Collicott, MD, FACS, and fellow students included a young surgeon in San Diego, A. Brent Eastman, MD, FACS, and one from San Francisco, Donald D. Trunkey, MD, FACS. Over the next year or two, we trained everyone in San Diego, and this became the language and glue for the San Diego Trauma System. The experience was enlightening, inspiring, and deeply personal. In a weekend, I was educated and had my confidence established: I was adept and skilled in something that had previously been a cause of anxiety and confusion. For the first time, I had been introduced to an “organized course,” standards for quality, validated education and skills training, and verification of these skills. It was a life-transforming experience and I chose a career in trauma in part as a result. During that weekend, I also was introduced to the American College of Surgeons — at its very best.
The tradition of ATLS and the newest course — the Ninth Edition — carry on this powerful tradition. This type of education fulfills our responsibility with our patients and the public at large — we are committed to consistency in practice and excellence in delivery above all else.
The fellow creators of the Ninth Edition under the leadership of Dr. Karen Brasel, MD, FACS, Will Chapleau, EMT-P, RN, TNS, and the wonderful College staff have furthered the tradition, the experience, and broadened the global impact. ATLS has been and remains one of the finest achievements of the American College of Surgeons and its Fellows. The Ninth Edition takes this achievement to an even higher level.
David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS
American College of Surgeons