I ran most of the medical ICU this weekend and had flashbacks to ICU rotations from my intern year. It’s a field I was considering from the get go, but this weekend reinvigorated my interest in pursuing a critical care fellowship.
Working at a cancer hospital, our patients in the MICU have devastating pathologies ranging from tumor lysis syndrome and multiple organ failure to septic shock with multiple drug-resistant organisms. Many of these patients will not survive their acute illness, and those who do will still have to face the perils of cancer progression. Death is a very real and almost daily event in the critically ill cancer population. 🙁
In spite of this, there’s something inviting about the ICU. It’s a chance for me to use years of education and training to distill complex pathology and treatment regimens to patients and their families. Additionally, it really allows me to provide a sense of comfort at the bedside. Even though patients may be regressing, families always seem to be comforted when doctors place an emphasis on providing safe care, realistic options, timely updates, and a shoulder to cry on. It’s like I’m caring not only for the patient but everyone involved in his or her life.
From a procedural standpoint, I performed intubations (first time using the Intubrite video laryngoscope) and line placements throughout the weekend. The ICU nurses and ancillary staff were incredibly helpful too! Overall, a great reminder of why I love critical care!