Trauma Skills Honed in the Shadow of War

Above: William Fulton, D.O., shows an image from his Army days.

Surgeon William Fulton, D.O., learned many powerful lessons during Operation Iraqi Freedom, especially during a brief stint at the Army’s busiest trauma center in Landstuhl, Germany, working alongside world- renowned trauma surgeons, including Dr. E. Gene Moore, “The Godfather of Trauma Surgery.”

He treated gravely injured young soldiers. He learned techniques to stop life-threatening hemorrhage with pelvic fractures. Protocols and techniques were being developed all the time to improve the way trauma patients were resuscitated.

“The sense of mission to care for soldiers, mostly very young, defending our right to freedom in our own country instills a sense of patriotism and aligns the mission of healthcare so well that it is palpable,” he said. All that experience has prepared

Dr. Fulton for his current role as a trauma and acute care surgeon at NorthBay Medical Center. When he joined the U.S. Army at 22, his primary incentive was the Health Professional Scholarship Program to pay for medical school in Kirksville, Missouri. His father was in the Navy and his grandfather served in the Army during World War II.

The Army offered him a chance to provide the unique type of care that has innovated trauma practice around the world. Throughout his military experience—13 years in all and four active duty—he was given numerous leadership roles and opportunities. But ultimately, it all comes back to the patient.

“There is simply no divergence from the compassionate care and teamwork that comes when we see an 18-year-old soldier who has lost his leg or suffered a burn to fight for our right to live free from terrorism,” said Dr. Fulton.

He said surgeons must similarly align their sense of mission and incentives in civilian healthcare.

“The patient is not only the center of health care but the center of our community and the reason we feel compelled to work, improve our organization, and grow with our colleagues in a mission much greater than ourselves,” he said.

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