hen the Trauma, Critical Care and Acute Care
Surgery conference got its start at Caesars Palace, “Las Vegas was a sleepy little downtown
and just developing,” recalls organizer Ken
Mattox, MD (MPI At Large).
That was in 1967. This year, when attendees show up at the
event March 20-22, they’ll be celebrating a major milestone.
Now the longest-running event at Caesars Palace, Trauma, Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery 2017 will celebrate its 50th
anniversary conference at Caesars Palace. Meanwhile, Caesars
Palace celebrated its 50th year in business in 2016.
The force behind the physician-run conference is Mattox,
77, who took the helm in 1989. Mattox is distinguished service
professor at the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at
Baylor College of Medicine, as well as chief of staff and chief of
surgery at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston.
“I’ve slowed down to working about 80-100 hours a week,”
Mattox jokes. “Sleep is a bad habit.” Although his job at the hos-
pital includes considerable administrative work, he says, “I do
something clinical every day. It keeps you young.”
Mattox plans the event, held under the auspices of the Trau-
ma & Critical Care Foundation, with Program Coordinator Mary
Allen, an administrative associate at Baylor. They work with Sta-
cey Purcell, assistant director of sales at Caesars Entertainment,
National Meetings & Events, who has been involved with and
managed the event for 25 years. The event mostly draws trauma
care surgeons but also includes nurses in the ;ield. Last year, it
drew more than 1,200 attendees, and this year, the conference
Kenneth Mattox, MD, prepares to celebrate his 50th
anniversary medical conference at Caesars Palace.
BY ELAINE POFELDT