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Md. Lawmakers Seek Congressional Gold Medal For Md. Shock Trauma Founder

TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) -- He was the founder of the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center. Dr. R. Adams Cowley was a heart surgeon and medical visionary.

Ron Matz reports a Congressional effort is underway to honor the late "Father of Trauma Medicine."

They arrive by air and by ground at Shock Trauma, the nation's first Trauma Center at the University of Maryland.

World-renowned for critical care medicine, it was founded by Dr. R. Adams Cowley. Now there's a push to honor this medical pioneer with the Congressional Gold Medal.

"Dr. Cowley was the one who was the leader. He was the visionary. There's nobody more deserving of a Congressional gold medal than Dr. Cowley," said Rep. John Sarbanes.

Dr. Tom Scalea is Physician-in-Chief.

"So this has become the most sophisticated trauma care that's available anywhere in the world and it's all becuase of Dr. Cowley. He had this vision 45 or 50 years ago and was stubborn enough to drive it through and not take no for an answer," Scalea said.

Dr. Cowley's son, R.A. Cowley II, says his family would be honored.

After a 1975 auto accident, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger's life was saved at Shock Trauma.

"Dr. Cowley created a system that saves lives. Because of his vision starting Shock Trauma in the state of Maryland, thousands and thousands of people have lived," Ruppersberger said. "Maryland Shock Trauma also works very closely with the military. We have men and women that are getting shot in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places. Shock Trauma is the number one advisor to the docs and paramedics who are there saving lives."

Dr. Cowley was 74 when he died in 1991 but his visionary work goes on here every day.

"I can't imagine the impact; it's kind of hard to say. If you think about organized trauma care and how many lives it's saved across the country, it's in the hundreds of thousands easily, maybe millions. Saving that many lives seems to me to merit this Congressional medal," Scalea said.

Today, Shock Trauma boasts a 97 percent survival rate and hundreds of medical personnel have trained there, including members of the US military in preparation for deployment to combat zones.

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