Every year since 2008, Washington Hospital has observed National Critical
Care Awareness and Recognition Month in May. This year’s observation
included an essay contest for the intensive care unit (ICU) staff. There
were 18 entries in the essay contest from a wide range of medical professionals
on the ICU team. The top three essay writers were recognized during a
Second Place Winner Ida Lee, occupational therapist
Ida Lee has been on the staff at Washington Hospital for nearly 15 years.
As an occupational therapist, she works with patients throughout the hospital,
including in the ICU.
“Dr. Agcaoili and my supervisor, Christy Casey, encouraged me to
enter the essay contest,” she says. “I thought it would be
a good opportunity to express my thoughts on the importance of critical
care. One part of providing the ‘right care’ is to focus on
patient-centered care, in which the patient’s needs come first.
We need to honor and respect the patient’s wishes.”
By Ida Lee, OT
Tick Tock. Tick Tock. A man arrives at the ER complaining about weakness
on his left side.
Tick Tock. A woman arrives at the ER complaining about chest pain.
Tick Tock. A child arrives at the ER complaining about abdominal pain.
Every day, thousands of people across the country come in to an ER with
various medical problems. Many of them are treated in the ER and sent
home. Some are admitted to the hospital for further treatments. Even fewer
are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Our faces are the ones
these patients will first see and remember. That is why what we do is
We, as members of the ICU, not only save lives, but we also try to return
patients back to their prior level of functioning. Everything we do will
have a long-lasting effect on our patients. Every minute in the ICU makes
a difference of life or death. This is why we need to do it right the
first time, and we need to do it now!
One person alone cannot accomplish the task of saving lives. We need to
work as a team, providing our expertise on how best to provide the appropriate
care to our patients. We need to work as a team to provide care not only
to our patients, but also to support each other. After all, we are just
human. We will have good days and bad days. It is when we are having bad
days that other team members will be there to support us to make sure
we are providing the most appropriate care.
Health care workers have great responsibility to provide the best treatment
to our patients. In order to provide the right care to our patients, we
need to be competent in our field. We need to continuously update ourselves
with the latest evidence-based studies so that we can offer the most appropriate
treatment option that will give our patients the best outcome. We need
to take the time to listen to our patients and their families regarding
their concerns and to respect their wishes. In today’s world of
diverse cultures, it is necessary for all of us to be respectful of other
people’s view of medical treatments, customs and beliefs, regardless
of our own beliefs. Sometimes, the most important thing we can do for
our patients is to offer them a hug or an empathetic ear.
Tick Tock. Tick Tock. The man receives specialized treatment and walks
out of the hospital independently.
Tick Tock. Tick Tock. The woman underwent surgery and is recovering at home.
Tick Tock. Tick Tock. The child receives medicine and returns home with
Tick Tock. Tick Tock. ICU team members rejoice for a good day of work.
Tick Tock. Tick Tock…
For more information about the essay contest and its theme of “Right
Care, Right Now,” as well as the first place winner’s essay,
see Part 1 of this series of award-winning essays, which was published
in the August 19 edition of the Tri-City Voice newspaper. Part 1 can be
found at www.tricityvoice.com or on the Washington Hospital website at
www.whhs.com/news. Part 3 of the series will be published in the September
2 edition of the newspaper.
Washington Hospital is on the leading edge of critical care medicine. The
hospital launched its Intensivist Program in 2008 and now has 9 intensivists
who are part of the medical staff. Intensivists are physicians who direct
and provide medical care for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU),
where critically ill patients are treated. They are board-certified in
critical care medicine and in a primary specialty such as internal medicine,
surgery, anesthesiology, or pediatrics.
Intensivists work with the attending and consulting physicians and other
members of the critical care team such as critical care nurses, pharmacists,
respiratory therapists, nutritionists, rehabilitation services, social
workers, case managers, and physician specialists as well as spiritual
care staff and volunteers. The team works together to ensure the patient
is getting the best care possible.
Washington Hospital is one of the few hospitals in the Bay Area with an
intensivist available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information
about Washington Hospital’s Intensivist Program, visit http://www.whhs.com/intensivist-program.
For more information about critical care medicine and the role of intensivists
and other staff members in the ICU, visit the Society of Critical Care
Medicine website at www.myicucare.org.