What Are Medical Intensivists?
Critical Care is a Patient and Family Centered - High Technology Medical Specialty.
Critical care is the field of medicine that deals with the critically ill and injured. The goal of critical care is to support the patient’s vital organ systems while they heal. A critical care team consisting of an Intensivist (Physician with specialized training in Critical Care), critical care nurse, critical care respiratory therapist and critical care pharmacist. In addition to the core team, physical therapist and nutritionist round daily on the critically ill and injured. Critical care utilizes specialized medical expertise, techniques, technology and processes to support each patient and their family through critical illness and injury. This allows the critical care team to quickly identify and respond to the patients changing needs.
Critical illness and injury is distressful to all involved - patient, family, friends and even at times the caregiving team. We lessen the distress through open and honest communication about you or your family members’ condition.
Critical care like all medical specialties’ has its limitations. The depiction of critical care as seen on television and in the movies is imprecise. In reality critical care is a supportive therapy. The invasive procedures and care we provide only support organ function temporarily. This support “buys time” allowing for the natural healing to occur. In a minority of situations critical care and invasive therapy is not an option. Just as a surgeon cannot cure a cancer if it has spread throughout the body; critical care cannot heal a person whose organ(s) have failed permanently, or whose chronic disease is so extensive there is no opportunity for recovery. In these instances the initiation or ongoing provision of critical care results only in additional discomfort, pain and distress as well as the inability to communicate with family and friends; yet no benefit to the patient. This does not mean that the critical care team has given up. On the contrary the critical care team will explore other noninvasive therapeutic options with the patient and their family. The goal is to ensure each patient is matched with the most appropriate therapy that will help them achieve their goals.