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Trauma and Critical Care Surgeons


For more information about our surgery team, call 602.406.7564

Specializing in Trauma, General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care

Chandler Regional Medical Center is the first American College of Surgeons-verified Level I Trauma Center in the East Valley. The hospital’s acute care surgery team is made up of general surgeons who specialize in trauma and critical care and treat a full range of elective and emergent surgical cases including:

  • Adrenal Surgery
  • Burns (those not meeting criteria for transfer to a burn center)
  • Colorectal disease including hemorrhoids
  • Complex abdominal wall reconstruction
  • Complex medical co-morbidities
  • Critical care for any surgery patient
  • DaVinci Robotic Surgery
  • Endoscopy (upper and lower)
  • Enteric fistula
  • Esophageal conditions
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Hernia repair
  • Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Liver and spleen surgery
  • Pancreatic Surgery 
  • Rib fracture management (acute and chronic)
  • Skin lesion removal and biopsies
  • Soft tissue infections (necrotizing fasciitis and Fournier’s gangrene)
  • Stomach and intestinal surgery
  • Surgical complications
  • Thyroid Surgery
  • Upper and lower endoscopy
  • Vascular injuries (i.e. following cardiac catheterization, arterial line placement, etc)
  • Wound Care

Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, these acute care surgeons also work closely with a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic, neuro surgical, plastic, hand and thoracic surgeons to ensure that patients receive the best possible care no matter the type or severity of their illness or injury.

Educators in the Community

As well as offering complete surgical and surgical critical care services, our Chandler surgical team also have the great honor of training our nation’s Army Surgeons in a collaborative agreement with William Beaumont Army Medical Center. The education and experience these surgeons-in-training receive from our team benefits the communities they serve, as well as the soldiers they treat in times of battle.

Our Commitment

The team is committed to providing the best possible care with timely surgical assessments. This attentive care continues throughout the patient’s initial evaluation, surgery, hospitalization, discharge planning and follow up through our Acute Care Surgery Clinic.

Our Team


Alan Dell Cook, MD, FACS

Dr. Cook is the Director of Trauma Research for Chandler Regional Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center.  He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery with an added qualification in surgical critical care.  He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

Dr. Cook received his medical degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine and also completed his residency in surgery.  He completed his fellowship in Trauma/Surgical Critical Care at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

His expertise includes surgery and trauma research.  His clinical focus is office-based surgery, soft tissue infections and wound care.

Daniel Cucher, MD

Dr. Cucher is a general, trauma, acute care surgeon at Chandler Regional Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center.  He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery in both General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.

He earned his medical degree and Masters of Medical Science from the University Of Arizona College Of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona. He completed his fellowship in surgical critical care at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland and completed his fellowship in Acute Care Surgery at the University Of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.


Vafa Ghaemmaghami, MD, FACS

Dr. Ghaemmaghami is the Assistant Trauma Medical Director at Chandler Regional Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center and a general, trauma, acute care surgeon.  He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery in both General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.  

He earned his medical degree from the McGovern Medical School in Houston, Texas and completed subsequent training at the University of Davis, Sacramento Medical Center and Parkland Hospital at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  He is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at The University of Arizona – Phoenix College of Medicine.

His philosophy is focused on providing compassionate, collaborative, evidence based care of the highest quality to each of his patients.

Charles Hu, MD, MBA, FACS

Dr. Charles Hu is the Medical Director of Trauma, Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery for Chandler Regional Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center. Dr. Hu’s expertise includes management of critically injured patients and emergency general surgery.  He is board certified in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.  He is a member of The American College of Surgeons, The American Board of Surgery, Society of Critical Care Medicine and Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

Dr. Hu received his medical degree and General Surgery training from Wayne State University.  He completed his fellowship in Surgical Critical Care at Washington University, St. Louis.

Dr. Hu’s philosophy is that “excellent patient care starts with compassion, patience, and attention to detail – the cornerstone of high quality care ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.”


Nicholas Thiessen, MD

Dr. Thiessen is a general surgeon at Chandler Regional Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center.  He is double board certified by the American Board of Surgery in both General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care.  He is a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, and Surgical Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Thiessen earned his medical degree from the University of Iowa.  He completed his residency at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and completed a fellowship in trauma surgical critical care at the University of California San Francisco, Fresno.

John Watt, MD

Dr. Watt is a general surgeon at Chandler Regional Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center.  He earned his Master of Science degree in biotechnology from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania.  He earned his medical doctorate from Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Watt completed a fellowship in biochemistry at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, DC.  He was a research scholar in radiation oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He completed his internship and residency in general surgery at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and went on to complete a fellowship in surgical critical care and acute care surgery.

He has also served as a United States Army Reserve Officer for many years.