Doctors working in critical care medicine, or Critical Care Doctors, manage critically ill patients with, at risk of, or recovering from potentially life-threatening failure of any of the body’s organs. Doctors with this speciality are involved in all aspects of care of the critically ill. The includes providing organ system support and the investigation, diagnosis, and treatment of acute illness. It also includes systems management and patient safety, ethics, end-of-life care and the support of families. They will treat various conditions including heart failure, renal failure, liver failure, neurological impairment, and respiratory failure, among many others.
You would need a Critical Care Doctor if you were suffering from a life-threatening illness or disease. This could include, but is not limited to, maternal complications around the time of childbirth, acute intoxication caused by substance such as drugs or alcohol, sepsis – a serious immune system reaction triggered by infection, gastrointestinal failure, heart failure, or liver failure. If you are in need of intensive care and therefore support for instability, or airway or respiratory compromise, or multiple organ failure, you will need a Critical Care Doctor. This type of care is usually only offered to those whose condition is potentially reversible and who have a relatively good chance of surviving with intensive care support.
A Critical Care Doctor can help you by diagnosing and treating your critical illness or injury. Your body, bodily functions, and organs will be supported by a Critical Care Doctor, a team of medical professionals and a variety of equipment until you begin to recover. Following this a Critical Care Doctor will transfer you to a different ward to continue your recovery before eventually going home.
You can expect to be looked after closely by your Critical Care Doctor and a team of supporting staff, and it is likely that you will be connected to equipment by a number of tubes, wires and cables. This equipment is used to monitor your health and support your bodily functions until they recover. Equipment that a Critical Care Doctor may use includes a ventilator, monitoring equipment, IV lines and pumps, feeding tubes, and drains and catheters. There will usually be one nurse for every one or two patients. You should also expect to be on painkilling medication and medication that may make you drowsy. This is because some of the equipment a Critical Care Doctor may use might be uncomfortable for you.