Alumni Spotlight

Ready to Treat Patients in Any Environment

Eileen Bulger, M.D., Res. ’00, Fel. ’00

I became interested in surgery during medical school and liked the challenge of taking care of patients who were critically ill or injured. When I was looking for a residency training program in surgery, I chose UW Medicine largely due to the opportunity to work at Harborview Medical Center. For the last year, I have had the honor of serving as the chief of trauma at Harborview, where I manage the trauma quality improvement program and work with all services providing trauma care.

I also have been involved with the International Medication Surgical Response Team (IMSURT), headquartered in Washington, D.C., since it was first established in 2003. The IMSURT teams, supported by the federal government through the National Disaster Medical System, are based in Boston, Miami and Seattle. The teams respond to major disasters when a local medical system is overwhelmed and establish field hospitals to manage complex patient cases and perform surgery. We are deployed by the federal government in the event of major disaster. My work with IMSURT is very similar to my work at Harborview, but the environment is much more challenging. The most recent event was the response to the earthquake in Haiti, where we established a field hospital that was operational for more than six weeks.

In addition to my patient work at Harborview, I also have led research efforts focused on the response of the immune system to acute injury. I have had the opportunity to lead multi-center clinical trials to look at different strategies to resuscitate patients who have major bleeding or major traumatic brain injury. For several years, I have worked with the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network, which is supported by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration. The network investigates the patterns of injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes with a goal to improve safety features in vehicles. Locally, I have worked with Seattle and King County Medic One programs on ways we can improve the care of patients before they reach the hospital.