F. WILLIAM BLAISDELL, M.D.
Dr. F. William Blaisdell, recently retired as professor of surgery at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center, is an extraordinary figure in American medicine. His impact on hospital emergency rooms nationwide – as a surgeon, educator and researcher – has been profound, and he's widely regarded as the father of modern trauma surgery.
Dr. Blaisdell began his career in 1960 at the Fort Miley Veterans Administration Hospital in San Francisco. In 1968, he established the nation's first trauma program at San Francisco General Hospital as Vietnam War protests, drug overdoses and acts of crime and violence rose to levels previously unknown to veteran surgeons.
Dr. Blaisdell's new system of care included round-the-clock staffing of emergency rooms with surgeons, establishing communication between surgeons and in-transit ambulance paramedics, continual on-site blood transfusion services, and immediate access to operating rooms. A subsequent study revealed a dramatic reduction in preventable deaths from traumatic injuries in emergency rooms using Dr. Blaisdell's procedures.
In 1978, Dr. Blaisdell established a nationally renowned trauma center at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Its faculty has written the majority of standards of care recommended by the American College of Surgeons for trauma surgeons throughout the nation.
A September retirement reception for Dr. Blaisdell drew friends, colleagues and proteges from throughout the United States to celebrate a career that has significantly improved the survival rate of trauma patients.
Dr. Joe Silva, Dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine and CEO of the UC Davis Health System, marveled at Dr. Blaisdell's ability to "create ... lasting programs, make differences in the lives of whole communities, train a cadre of leaders
in your field and create new knowledge that saves lives.
"That's rarified air. That's a place by itself. That's the stuff of history. That's Bill Blaisdell."