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Washington Hospital Honors ICU Essay Contest Winners Part 2 of a 3-Part Series

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 staff celebration.

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.”

Tick Tock

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 so important.

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 grateful parents.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock. ICU team members rejoice for a good day of work.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock…

Learn More

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 or on the Washington Hospital website at 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

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