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Chicago trauma and burn surgeon publishes book, is featured in pilot reality television series and is the subject of a fictional television show

Chicago (Sept. 25, 2012): Leading Chicago trauma and burn surgeon Dr. Andrew Dennis, who is also a sworn police officer and SWAT team member, is releasing his first book and is the subject of two television series.

Dr. Dennis is on the front lines facing trauma every day at Chicago's Cook County Hospital - one of the busiest urban trauma centers in the country. He grew up in the 1970s watching Emergency, S.W.A.T. and Adam 12 - hit television shows that featured paramedics, police officers and an intrepid SWAT team. Today, Dr. Dennis lives all three of those shows.

He is a sworn police officer and member and medical director of two Chicago regional SWAT teams. He founded Medical Tactics, a company that teaches life saving tactics to law enforcement officers, educators and corporate leaders. He invented Trans Abdominal Wall Traction (TAWT), a device and technique that allows surgeons to close what once were believed to be non-closeable open abdomens.  As a clinical researcher Dr. Dennis has focused on electronic control weapons such as TASERS, and responses to disaster in and out of the hospital.

In October Dr. Dennis's first book, “Officer Down - A Practical Tactical Guide to Surviving Injury in the Street” will be published by Kendall Hunt.  The book focuses on the importance of perception and how it impacts one’s decisions and action when faced with injury.  Dr. Dennis empowers individuals to harness their fear, fortify their mindset and control their physiological reactions and to apply simple yet effective life-saving countermeasures.

In September the National Geographic channel released the pilot of  "Chicago Trauma," a one-hour docu-series based on the lives of Dr. Dennis and his colleagues at Cook County Hospital. Dr. Dennis is also exploring with Tricon films  the possibility of a scripted fictional television show based on his life story.

"I have the greatest job in the world.  I am able to marry my world of medicine to my world of law enforcement and emergency medical services. It is a unique honor and privilege to do so,” Dr. Dennis says.

About Dr. Dennis

As a trauma surgeon and law enforcement officer Dr. Dennis is unique in his ability to handle life threatening situations in the hospital and in the field. Through Medical Tactics, he has developed an educational program to teach individuals to handle traumatic situations - whether that involves workplace violence or a distraught teenager intent on shooting up a school. He is widely quoted in the media as an expert who speaks about law enforcement and trauma care. He is also available to speak to law enforcement organizations, schools and businesses about reacting to trauma in a way that can save lives. Dr. Dennis chairs the Department of Surgery at Midwestern University, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Ill., and is faculty at Rush University College of Medicine in Chicago. He and his wife Melissa, also a physician, have two children.

Written by Medical Tactics — September 25, 2012

CBS: Inside Chicago trauma unit - July, 2012


Credit: CBS/JakeBarlow

Dr. Andrew Dennis operates on a patient in critical conditionOn Monday, July 9, 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new attack on gangs. He told CBS News' Scott Pelley that, while other classifications of crime (i.e., burglary, armed robbery) are down in Chicago by ten percent, "We have a gun violence issue specifically tied to gangs. So we have readjusted the strategy" addressing such violence.

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Written by Medical Tactics — July 23, 2012

Article in The American Surgeon - July 2011

Staged Trans-Abdominal Wall Traction (Tawt) As a Means to Recapture Abdominal Domain While Preventing Abdominal Compartment Syndrome in Both the Acute and the Chronic Giant Ventral Hernia.

July 2011 | The American Surgeon · July Supplement

Dennis AJ, Steinberg J, Anderson R, Bokhari F, Starr F, Poulakedidas S, Nagy K, Wiley D. Joseph K, Valentino D, Roberts R. JSH Cook County Hospital, Department of Trauma Rush University, Department of Surgery, Chicago, Illinois, United State

excerpt... Conclusion: TAWT is a superior technique to other options for managing and closing acute and chronic giant ventral hernias. TAWT preserves the leading fascial edge, recaptures domain by stretching the oblique muscles, protects from ACS, and eliminates the need for bridges, components separation and large skin flaps. In our practice, it has virtually eliminated the acceptance of skin grafted ventral hernias as the means of open abdomen management, and is changing the way we manage all ventral hernias.


Written by Medical Tactics — July 03, 2012

Attack Victim: Pit Bulls Were Trained to Kill

January 17th, 2012 | NBC Chicago

Joseph Finley, 62, lost foot after vicious attack along Lake Michigan in early January... "It was a rough go for several days. He was on a breathing machine. He was very sick. He got a lot of blood. I mean, his injury was nearly equivalent to stepping on a landmine," said Dr. Andrew Dennis.

Written by Medical Tactics — July 03, 2012

Chicago Tribune - Blood Bank Article

The Cook County Health and Hospitals System this week is celebrating what it says is one of the greatest milestones in medical history — the creation of a "blood bank."

Imagined 75 years ago by Cook County Hospital's Dr. Bernard Fantus, the nation's first hospital blood bank came to be on March 15, 1937.

While physicians abroad had already reported preserving blood for later transfusions, Fantus holds the distinction of coining the term "blood bank" and organizing the first hospital blood storage system in the U.S.

"What Dr. Fantus (did is) one of the greatest landmarks in the history of medicine," said Cook hospital system CEO Ramanathan Raju. "We're all very proud of that."

Cook County's Stroger. Hospital went through about 12,000 units of blood in 2011 and averages 300 to 500 transfusions a month, according to blood bank staff. An average weekend in the trauma department — one of the busiest in the nation — requires about 100 units of blood, said trauma surgeon Andrew Dennis.

The year before the blood bank was started, Cook County Hospital completed 649 blood transfusions, said Sally Campbell-Lee, director of transfusion medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. The next year, after the blood bank's creation, 1,354 transfusions were done.

Blood transfusions today are the most commonly performed medical procedure and without Fantus' contributions, Campbell-Lee said the field likely would not be as advanced.

Campbell-Lee is past president of the Illinois Association of Blood Banks. That organization, along with the Cook hospital system, is hosting a medical symposium in Oak Brook on Thursday to honor Fantus and the blood bank's 75th anniversary.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

Written by Medical Tactics — April 10, 2012

Chicago Trauma

A glimpse into the work of Dr. Andrew Dennis, attending Trauma Surgeon at Cook County Hospital and trained SWAT police officer.

Written by Medical Tactics — April 10, 2012