It was when he was in the 7th grade that Dr. Joseph Carroll, now an assistant professor in the UNLV School of Medicine Department of Surgery, first thought about becoming a physician.
“I was in science class and we were learning about fevers and why your body does this. I found it fascinating and ever since then all I wanted to do was learn about how the body worked.”
Born and raised in Scottsdale, AZ, Dr. Carroll was in high school when he first got to shadow physicians at the Mayo Clinic’s campus in Arizona.
“My mom was in charge of catering there and I found it exciting to see how doctors could make people feel better.”
Following graduation from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he was named Galileo Circle Scholar as the university’s outstanding undergraduate researcher, Dr. Carroll attended the university’s medical school. It didn’t take him long to decide he wanted to be a surgeon.
“I was in awe of how doctors could take someone with a real problem and fix them so they could walk out of the hospital far better off. That opportunity and responsibility was the greatest honor I could think of both then and today.”
He did a residency in general surgery through Michigan State University but felt a need for more training to practice trauma surgery at the highest level. He decided the UNLV School of Medicine’s Acute Care Surgery Fellowship, the first program of its kind in the nation, would help him gain the expertise he wanted.
The demand for such fellowships has grown as the demands on trauma surgeons have expanded. Surgical emergencies that used to be handled by specialists in plastic, gastrointestinal, thoracic or general surgery are now frequently performed by trauma surgeons.
Today, a study of nearly 100 U.S. academic medical centers shows that trauma surgeons perform a variety of urgent procedures, including gallbladder removal, spleen repair and removal and hernia repair. In addition to operating room surgeries, trauma surgeons often perform bedside procedures such as placing drainage tubes in chests or catheters in veins.
Dr. Carroll was called into action in the wake of the Oct.1, 2017 mass shooting on the Strip that killed 58 and wounded more than 800. His efforts became the subject of media reports.