Monthly Archives: February 2011

BMC’s Critical Care Chief Receives Grant for Lung Injury Study


Suresh Agarwal, MD, Boston Medical Center’s chief of surgical critical care, and associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, has received a $295,172 grant from the National Trauma Institute (NTI) to identify optimal treatment methods for acute lung injury (ALI). BMC will lead the multi-institutional trial, which involves seven Level I trauma centers and includes one military hospital.

Agarwal’s study is one of nine grants awarded this year by NTI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding trauma research in the United States in an effort to reduce death and disability, and the associated costs, related to trauma injury.

Agarwal will study two therapies that may influence ALI, a significant healthcare burden for both military and civilian populations that accounts for more than 75,000 deaths annually. Mechanical ventilation (respirator) techniques remain the only accepted treatment therapy for patients with severe injuries, but these are also associated with segmental lung collapse, increased time on a ventilator and increased incidence of pneumonia. Agarwal’s team will compare a novel therapy, airway pressure release ventilation (APRV), with ARDSNet (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), the traditional modality for management of ALI.

“Our long-term goal is to improve the health outcomes of patients with ALI and ARDS and gain a better understanding of its pathogenesis, prevention and treatment,” said Agarwal.

NTI is committed to facilitating translational research, which is research whose results may affect the practice of medicine and patient outcomes in the near-term. Agarwal’s study and the other eight funded by NTI in this cycle will get under way this year and may be completed within one year. Preliminary results from the principal investigators may be presented at the NTI’s Annual Trauma Symposium in 2012.

BMC’s Jonathon Olshaker, MD, discusses injuries due to slips and falls on the ice with NECN

Jonathon Olshaker, MD, Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center discusses the steady stream of injuries from falls on the ice being seen in BMC’s ER. 

Physician Profile: Peter A. Burke, MD, FACS

Peter A. Burke, MD, FACS


Chief, Trauma Services

Professor of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine


Peter A. Burke, MD, FACS is Chief of Trauma Services and Professor of Surgery at Boston University School of Medicine. A graduate of Vassar College and Tufts University School of Medicine, he completed his internship and residency at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston. Dr. Burke’s major areas of interest are critical care and trauma and he has a broad surgical practice in all areas of general surgery. He is actively involved in medical student and resident teaching in the areas of trauma, shock, and sepsis. His professional interests include clinical research, liver trauma and nutritional support. Dr. Burke has authored and co-authored numerous chapters and scientific papers and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.


Dr. Burke has research interests in gene regulation in injury and the molecular, metabolic, and immunologic responses in sepsis and injury. His research interests and involvement extend from basic science, laboratory based projects to those involving clinical questions and patient studies. In the laboratory, he is involved in looking at changes in transcriptional regulatory mechanisms brought on by injury. Utilizing clinically relative injury models, he has looked at changes in the basic transcriptional regulatory apparatus after injury. Burkes clinical based research involves the study of the effects of critical illness on patients’ immunologic responses. He is extensively involved in the delivery of nutritional support to hospitalized patients as well as those requiring it at home and is presently involved in several ongoing clinical research projects involved with these patients.


Why did you go into trauma surgery?


Trauma surgery provides the unique opportunity to take care of patients both surgically and medically during critical illness.

What makes Boston Medical Center special?

The opportunity to take care of a diverse patient population and work in trauma program steeped in tradition and with a history of providing the highest quality care.


Research/Clinical Interests

  • Clinical research
  • Liver trauma
  • Nutritional support

Board Certifications

  • Basic Clinical Research
  • General Surgery
  • Nutritional Support
  • Trauma Surgical Care

U.S. Marine Corps Trauma Training Video

This video shows combat training at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center/Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command MCAGCC/MAGTFTC in Twentynine Palms, California. The first 2:45 of the video provides a great inside look at combat trauma training.

Warning: This simulation video is very realistic and contains some elements of footage that may be too graphic for some people. The wounds and effects are not real.