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Memphis’s influence on trauma care: the legacy of Dr Tim Fabian
  1. David H Livingston
  1. Surgery, Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David H Livingston; livingst{at}

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When one reflects on the 50-year arc of modern trauma care, there are only a few places and trauma centers that stand out as leaders (eg, San Francisco, Maryland, Miami, Denver). But there are fewer centers that have consistently been in the forefront of creating guidance in the management of trauma which became the standards of care. Memphis has clearly been such a place. Dr Tim Fabian came to Memphis in 1980 following his fellowship at Grady under mentorship of the late Harlan H Stone. His goal was to simply bring the best trauma care possible to that part of the country. By 1983, the Trauma Center at Memphis was a reality with Dr Fabian at the helm. Over the next four decades, the studies by Dr Fabian and the faculty at the Presley Trauma Center continued to define and refine the delivery of clinical trauma care for the rest of the country. The topics were wide ranging as demonstrated by the work presented in the Festschrift but were always of clinical importance.

Over his career, Dr Fabian has achieved almost every honor and accolade that the trauma community can bestow. He has served as President of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (1997), the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST, 2008), the Scudder Oration to the American College of Surgeons (2012), the Fitts Orator to the AAST (2019) and was unanimous choice as the inaugural editor for Journal of Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open. More importantly, he has been a stalwart and leader as an educator and mentor for many students, residents, fellows and faculty in trauma and acute care surgery as well as those who chose other career pathways. The fame and ability of the authors of the papers presented in this Festschrift (all proudly part of the Memphis family) only touches on the impact Dr Fabian has had in developing the next (and subsequent) generation of leaders in trauma and acute care surgery.

As the recent past president of the AAST, it was my honor and pleasure to help coordinate this Festschrift for Dr Fabian with Dr Martin Croce. It was our goal to create something worthy of Dr Fabian’s stature and to celebrate how influential he and the Memphis faculty under his leadership have been to the field of trauma and surgical critical care. To highlight these contributions, we have asked several alumni to examine Memphis’s contributions in broad areas of clinical trauma care. How the studies came about, what they meant in the delivery of trauma care, how they changed (or not) since they were first written and where they currently stand today. I have no doubt that these reviews will be as important and insightful as the original work and will be of incredible use to our current and future trainees. We hope that in publishing these manuscripts we have achieved our goal to make this Festschrift a worthy legacy for Dr Fabian.

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  • Contributors I am the sole contributor to this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.