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R Adams Cowley

American surgeon

Died when: 74 years 94 days (891 months)
Star Sign: Leo


R Adams Cowley

R Adams Cowley (July 25, 1917 – October 27, 1991) was an American surgeon considered a pioneer in emergency medicine and the treatment of shock trauma.

Called the "Father of Trauma Medicine", he was the founder of the United States' first trauma center at the University of Maryland in 1958, after the US Army awarded him $100,000 to study shock in people—the first award of its kind in the United States.

The trauma unit at first consisted of two beds, and was later expanded to four beds.Many people called the four-bed unit the "death lab." Cowley was the creator of the "Golden Hour" concept, the period of 60 minutes or less following injury when immediate definitive care is crucial to a trauma patient's survival.

He was a leader in the use of helicopters for medical evacuations of civilians, beginning in 1969, and founded the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

He also founded the nation's first statewide EMS system, called MIEMSS by Executive Order of Maryland's Governor Mandel, 1972, as well as the National Study Center for Trauma and EMS, enacted by Congress in 1986 and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

He is also known for being one of the first surgeons to perform open-heart surgery and invented both a surgical clamp that bears his name and a prototype pacemaker that was used by Dwight D.


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