Abdominal sepsis is mainly caused by intra-abdominal or retroperitoneal infection; therefore, early detection of the source of infection and adequate, prompt treatment are the most important contributors to patient outcomes. Because patients with sepsis often receive emergency abdominal surgery after regular hours, and most patients need critical care postoperatively, the need for personnel to specialize in these areas has emerged. The concept of acute care surgery (ACS), which includes trauma care, emergency general surgery, and surgical critical care, has been discussed since the early 2000s, and ACS fellowships were launched in the United States in 2008. ACS teams have been found to reduce mortality and complication rates, to decrease the time to surgery, and to lower financial costs in comparison to the traditional surgical model. In Korea, a regional trauma center project was started in 2012, and the government provided funding for each trauma center as part of this project. In the ACS field, the system for non-trauma emergency surgery is currently in the early stages of discussion. The need for such a system has been accelerated by the reduction of working hours per week of residents, as well as the shortage of manpower for emergency general surgery and surgical critical care on the night shift. In this review, we discuss the manpower problems that impact the treatment of abdominal emergency patients, and consider ways in which the Korean ACS system can treat these patients professionally.
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