Features  |   May 2019
Beyond the Operating Room: Choosing a Career in Critical Care
Author Affiliations
  • David L. Stahl, M.D.
    Committee on Critical Care Medicine
  • Natalia S. Ivascu, M.D.
    Committee on Critical Care Medicine
  • Talia K. Ben-Jacob, M.D., M.Sc.
    Committee on Critical Care Medicine
  • Kristina Goff, M.D.
    Committee on Critical Care Medicine
Article Information
Critical Care / Features
Features   |   May 2019
Beyond the Operating Room: Choosing a Career in Critical Care
ASA Monitor 5 2019, Vol.83, 30-32.
ASA Monitor 5 2019, Vol.83, 30-32.
Feeling for a pulse that obviously wasn’t there, it began to sink in that Miguel had finally died. We had spent weeks buying time, trying to allow his organs to recover from the trauma of colliding with a tree at 70 mph. First, he was treated with blood transfusions, vasopressors, mechanical ventilation and antibiotics. Next, we tried veno-venous extracorporeal life support for his severe ARDS and continuous renal replacement therapy for his acute kidney injury. But these injuries unmasked underlying liver dysfunction, which was its own denouement. So, we pivoted. This was like asking an entire orchestra to stand up, turn their chairs, and face due west. We focused on his comfort and allowed him to die. As Miguel’s death was announced, his brother cracked a joke. Giggles gave way to hearty laughter as his family gathered around his body. Critical care, much like anesthesiology, requires a mastery of physiology, pharmacology and technical skills, but leadership, teamwork and empathy are what drive many of us to our best work.
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