WASHINGTON, DC - Maryland congressmen Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. John Sarbanes and Rep. Andy Harris joined together today to announce legislation to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to R Adams Cowley, founder of Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland.
The award is Congress' highest expression of appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions to society.
Dr. Crowley is considered the "Father of Trauma Medicine," and created the system that saved Ruppersberger's life after a near-fatal car crash in 1975. According to a news release, Dr. Cowley first proposed the now universally-accepted "Golden Hour" concept, which describes the first 60 minutes following injury when definitive care is crucial to trauma patients' survival. He was among the first to perform open-heart surgery, lobby for helicopter evacuations and invented both a surgical clamp that bears his name and a prototype pacemaker.
"R Adams Cowley is the perfect fit for the Congressional Gold Medal," Ruppersberger said in a statement. "Thousands of trauma patients like me are alive today because of his vision and legacy and thousands more lives will be saved in the future. His hard work laid the foundation for emergency medicine to become a discipline of its own and I encourage my colleagues to support this Gold Medal."
Sarbanes and Harris, along with the entire rest of the Maryland Congressional delegation, have signed on as original cosponsors of the legislation. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski will be introducing the bill's counterpart in the U.S. Senate.
"For over 50 years, Maryland Shock Trauma has been at the forefront of health science, innovation and research. Its founder, Dr. R Adams Cowley, displayed a deep commitment to patients through innovative new treatments and advances in emergency medical care," Mikulski said in a statement. "I am proud to sponsor legislation in the Senate that would award Dr. Cowley a Congressional Gold Medal, a fitting tribute to this great Marylander and American. His legacy will live on in the generations of lives his pioneering efforts and treatments have saved and improved."
According to the release, Shock Trauma Center boasts a 97 percent survival rate. Hundreds of medical personnel have trained there including members of the U.S. military in preparation for deployment to combat zones.
Proposed Gold Medal legislation must be cosponsored by at least 290 members of the House of Representatives and at least 67 Senators before the committees in each chamber will consider it. If passed, Dr. Cowley would be the 156th honoree to receive the award since the American Revolution.