Division of Trauma/Acute Care Surgery

The Division of Trauma/Acute Care Surgery offers comprehensive acute surgical care for trauma and emergency general surgery patients. Our surgeons all have specialized training and experience in trauma, surgical critical care and emergency general surgery. From the time they walk through hospital doors until post-discharge rehabilitation, our patients are supported by our surgical expertise and experience. Our providers offer trauma care at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, one of the few designated adult trauma centers in San Diego County. Our providers also offer Acute Care Surgery, inpatient emergency general surgery services, at Scripps Green Hospital, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.

Areas of interest and specialty are noted below:

Walter L. Biffl, MD (Division Head)

Imad Dandan, MD

Ning Lu, MD

Fady Nasrallah, MD

Gary Schwendig MD

Marc Sedwitz, MD

  • Vascular Surgery

Gail T. Tominaga, MD

Frank Z. Zhao, MD

Jeff Weiss, MD

  • Vascular Surgery

Hung Truong, MD

  • Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery

Leah Askegaard, NP
Mark Johnson, PA
Edward Kim, PA
Miranda Mulholland, NP
Elizabeth O’Neil, NP
Sandra Sullivan, NP
Olivia Tucker, PA
Michael Amadeo, NP
Caitlin Hopkins, PA
Joseph Roberts, PA

Featured Services

  • Trauma Care

  • Surgical Critical Care

  • Emergency General Surgery

  • Chest wall injury management

  • Surgical stabilization of rib fractures

  • Intercostal nerve cryoablation for rib fracture analgesia

Recognitions & Awards

Many of our Division members perform research and speak before regional, national and international audiences.

  • Walter L. Biffl, MD currently serves as President-Elect of the Western Trauma Association; Treasurer of the Southwestern Surgical Congress; and on the Board of Directors of the World Society of Emergency Surgery. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the World Journal of Emergency Surgery as well as an Editorial Board member of several journals including the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, and World Journal of Surgery.

  • Ning Lu, MD serves on the Emergency General Surgery Committee of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

  • Fady Nasrallah, MD serves on the Donation Council of The Organ Donation and Transplantation Alliance with membership in the Donation after Cardiac Determination of Death (DCDD) workgroup.

  • Gail T. Tominaga, MD serves on the patient Assessment Committee of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma and the Verification Review Committee of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma.

  • Frank Z. Zhao, MD serves on the Research Committee of the Chest Wall Injury Society.

Graduate Medical Education is an important focus of our Division. We integrate surgical residents from the U.S. Naval Medical Center San Diego into our service. We also offer educational experiences to medical and pre-medical students, nurses, prehospital trainees, and others in healthcare who desire to gain additional experience.

In addition, we collaborate with our San Diego County Lifeguard and Emergency Medical Services partners, as well as community residents, in areas such as fall prevention and hemorrhage control.

For more information or to apply, please visit the Graduate Medical Education page.

Our research focuses on many aspects of trauma and emergency surgical care. We work on projects looking at the entire age spectrum from adolescents to the elderly, along with the spectrum from injury prevention through post-discharge rehabilitation. We have presented our findings at a variety of national and international conferences. Our members have also been involved in writing national and international care management guidelines designed to improve and standardize evidence-based care in San Diego County and around the world.

A partial list of current research:

  • CovidSurg – Surgical outcomes in Covid-19 patients
  • Western Trauma Association Multicenter Trial on Pancreatic Injury
  • Evaluation of Simulated Driving Ability in Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Access to Rehabilitative care and Outcomes of Adolescents in San Diego County Following Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury
  • Western Trauma Association Multicenter Study of Bowel Injury
  • Fall Risk and Postural Sway Analysis
  • Project Memory
  • Reversal of AC in Older Trauma Patients
  • Intercostal Nerve Cryoablation Multicenter Prospective RCT 
  • Time Restricted Feeding in Critically Ill Patients Prospective RCT
  • The Impact of Cannabis on the Injured Patient in the San Diego Trauma System
  • Motorized Scooter Trauma
SEE ALL SCMG RESEARCH