Dr. David A. Spain is the David L. Gregg, MD Professor and Chief of Acute Care Surgery. His clinical areas of specialty are emergency and elective general surgery, trauma and critical care. His research focus is assessment of clinical care, systems of care and assessment of stress response and PTSD after trauma. He is the current President of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. He is a Councilor of the American Board of Surgery and Director of the Surgical Critical Care board. He is the editor of the textbook Scientific American's Critical Care of the Surgical Patient. Dr. Spain is also the General Surgery Residency Program Director at Stanford.

Professional Summary

Education & Certifications
  • Board Certification: American Board of Surgery, General Surgery (1993)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Surgery, Surgical Critical Care (1996)
  • Fellowship: University of Louisville Hospital (1994) KY
  • Residency: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (1992) NJ
  • MD, Wayne State University, Medicine (1986)
  • BS/Honors College, Michigan State University, Biochemistry (1982)

Honors & Awards
  • Collins Teaching Award, General Surgery Residency Progran (2005)
  • General Surgery Chief Residents Award, Stanford (2010)
  • General Surgery Chief Residents Award, Stanford (2018)
  • Teaching Award, Stanford/Kaiser Emergency Medicine Residency (2004 and 2008)

Administrative Appointments
  • Chief of Trauma and Critical Care Surgery, Stanford University (2001 - 2023)


Specializing In

  • Trauma Services

Practice Locations

Trauma Service Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

900 Blake Wilbur Drive, Garden Level

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 736-5800

More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Patient Ratings

(53 Ratings)

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Friendliness/courtesy of the care provider
Explanations the care provider gave you about your problem or condition
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Care provider's efforts to include you in decisions about your care
Care provider's efforts to include you in decisions about your treatment
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The Patients Ratings and comments are gathered from our Patient Satisfaction Survey and displayed in their entirety.

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Patient Reviews

(84 reviews)

Everything went well.
I like the way it Was done.
Dr seemed not fully up to speed and a bit nonchalant.
Wonderful Dr., his bed side manor is AMAZING!!!! Trust him with my life!!
Exceptional doctor.
Good guy Seems quite intelligent. & knowledgeable
Very friendly,, explained everything so I could understand
Thanks so much it was very professional.
Dr. Spain was very attentive and listen to my concerns.
Dr. Spain was exactly on time for appointment and had all of my medical history ready for his analysis. He was extremely efficient, responsive to my questions and informative.
Gives you a lot of confidence
as far as I can judge, Dr. David Spain is an excellent surgeon!
Very patient, answered all my questions. I felt confident in him.
David Spain is a very conscientious doctor.
I am pleased
Very professional and caring
Doctor Adams is wonderfully knowledgeable and a nice person.
Dr Spain was very attentive and interested in helping me. He is very thorough and you can tell he has great knowledge.
I really appreciate you doing my surgery. I like that your down to earth and explain things. You are a great speaking to patients. You don’t talk like your the smartest just explain your thoughts. Thank you for your down to earth personality.
Very professional
Dr. Spain did an amazing job! He went over details on my options regarding gallstones as I was hesitant to have surgery, and what to expect pre/post surgery. I'm very thankful to him!
very knowledgeable and great reviewer of issues presented and discussed.
Dr. Spain was excellent thought the course of my treatment. All of my questions were answered thoroughly. Surgery was successful.
He is very attentive which makes me happy as a patient.
I want to say thank you mr. Spain, keep doing what you're doing I felt comfortable the way you and your team provided and did everything God bless you all
Very professional and explained everything in easy to understand terms.
great doctor, very talented in so many ways.
I received superb care. Dr. Spain is outstanding. A doctor's doctor.
My care provider is very kind, especially, Dr. David Spain is listening to me very carefully. He pays good attention of my questions. I would like to say thank you to Dr. Spain, David Alan!
Most trustworthy and honest doctor.
All good.
Very frank discussion. Way more informative than the first surgeon I saw (not at Stanford).
Dr. Spain does not have a great "bedside" manner. I am here for the best surgeon not the friendliest.
Dr. Spain is an excellent surgeon. He makes patient comfortable, explains well & has a good sense of humor & choice of shoes!
Very good.
Dr. was very informative. I really enjoyed seeing him.
The three doctors gave me good information to make my decision to have the surgery.
Dr Spain is an excellent surgeon. He took the time to explain to my husband emergency surgery done . I was so glad he was my surgeon.
Dr. Spain is the best doctor I've ever had. He always takes the time to walk me through my health problems and concerns.
He was obviously very tired, was short but thorough. Still would recommend as a surgeon. Bedside matter needs polishing.
great people, and they treat you like a human not a number
Doctor was very professional and respectful.
Dr. Spain always treats me as a person not just a patient. he discusses my situation not just with a resident but with me as well. His mannerism is humble and I feel more relaxed and at ease to ask questions.
Loved Dr. Spain! Very down to earth and helpful!
Good and fair.
Dr. Spain is perfect! he attended my medical needs for over 14 years and I trust him completely!
Dr. Spain was outstanding, spent the time needed, answered all my questions and developed an excellent treatment plan.
Dr. Spain was excellent!! A great communicator. Funny. Comforting.
Good experience.
Very good experience.
Fair experience.
Very pleased with the team -
Dr. Judy ad Dr. Neil are excellent communicators and instill confidence.
Dr. Spain was terrific in everyway - happy he was my surgeon.
Great on all accounts
Did not take concerns about post-op infections very seriously, and I did end up having one. After care was not explained well until after the surgery. Wish I could have prepared better.
Doctor forgets to mention I have metal pieces in my abdomen as a result of surgery (!). When I requested explanation, he says "you're not going to notice", which is vaguely insulting.
There was nothing given to me after the fact. No handouts explaining how to care for the wound. Nothing saying what was normal or what was cause for worry. Nothing explaining what they just did to me. I found this very shocking! I'm used to getting a whole pamphlet even for a vaccine, much less a surgery! I had to take some pictures of the wound site and send it to the doctor in subsequent days because I didn't know if it was normal. And I still hope I'm doing the right things to take care of it, since I received no instructions.
Felt a bit curt and rushed to begin with, but was willing to answer questions and gave a clear explanation of the options.
Good experience.
Dr. Spain was very courteous and informative of my medical problem - he explained procedure and set my mind at ease with competence and support.
Very happy & appreciative with my surgery in repair of inguinal hernia.
all good
Awesome doctor. The best!
Was good care thanks.
all good
All good.
Suggestion: Advise patients (open hernia surgery) that the pain medication may will cause constipation and that is the reason for the recommendation stool softener (some patients are not aware of the pain medication).
Being pregnant and having an epigastric hernia I didn't have any professional diagnostic from this provider even after I told him I had and ultrasound (that says I have a hernia)
Dr. Spain, his assistants, all of his staff have been respectful, quick in getting me to the exam room, where Dr. Spain is specific, and kind in my follow-up care. Everyone in this office is very professional, while they show their courtesy.
Dr. Spain is excellent and I truly appreciate his expertise & skill.
I had emergency surgery 400 miles from home this visit was a hand-off from one surgeon to the other. Dr. Spain was completely informed & ready for me.
I'm very optimistic about my upcoming surgery.
He is either RUDE, arrogant or a great combo of both. I didn't follow through with him operating. I would never let him cut me open!
Dr. did not acknowledge husband at all.
He seemed a bit cavalier or aloof but obviously competent.

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