Mr Stuart Matthews is appointed to ATLS Steering Group

Aug / 2014

Mr Stuart Matthews is appointed Trauma & Orthopaedic Representative on the ATLS Steering Group, with effect from 1st December 2014. Congratulations Stuart!

The ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) is a 3 day course for doctors, who may have to deal with severely injured patients, promulgated by the American College of Surgeons & taken up not only by the Royal College of Surgeons of England but worldwide.

ATLS is used as the method of assessing immediately life threatening injuries & dealing with them in a prioritised manner according to what is likely to kill the patient quickest as part of a primary survey & then a detailed head to toe secondary survey is performed looking for potentially life threatening injuries & subsequently all injuries. Lectures include airway obstruction, thoracic trauma, blood loss & haemorrhage control, abdominal trauma, head trauma, spinal trauma & musculosketal trauma as well as trauma in children & trauma in pregnancy & stabilization prior to transfer to definitive care.

The course consists of a series of lectures with skill stations & simulated casualty scenarios & course learning material in the form of a comprehensive manual is sent to candidates in advance. At the beginning of the course there is a pre-test multiple choice question exam & at the end of the course there is another in addition to continual assessment at each skill station. All aspects of the course must be passed & when candidates pass they are referred to as Providers.

If Providers are outstanding at the skill stations, especially at the simulated casualty scenario, achieve over 36/40 in the exams, show a positive response to course content & are supportive of others on the course then they may be offered a chance to become an ATLS instructor. This involves a 2 days course, which is also assessed with a pass or fail.

The latter course is multidisciplinary & requires input from anaesthetists, surgeons & emergency medicine doctors. It is aimed at all qualified doctors who may have to deal with severely injured patients.

The course is mandatory for all Orthopaedic & Emergency Medicine trainees. It is desirable for many other specialities. It has been a real success story & has resulted in the saving of countless lives wherever the course has been rolled out. The steering group is responsible for maintaining the standards of teaching in the UK, supporting the promulgation of the ATLS philosophy & liasing with & supporting other course programs abroad as well as updating the manual. A representative from every speciality that treats trauma sits on the committee.

Mr Matthews became an instructor in 1993 & course director in 1994. Mr Matthews started the first military course at the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital in Woolwich & then at Frimley Park Hospital which is still going as well as one in South Wales. Subsequently, Mr Matthews became a steering group member for 4 years & as a result became director of courses.




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