The sickest patient in the ICU

Monday, April 9, 2012

I had one patient last night and he was quite sick.

There was lots of monitoring blood pressures and I was busy a good portion of the night.

As I was driving home I thought about it…there were only two ICU patients last night and the other patient was on the verge of being downgraded to IMC.  So I took care of the sickest patient in the ICU.  Therefore, technically, the sickest patient in the hospital.

Wow.  That really kind of blows my mind.  My thought process and my ability to think about whether the patient was stable or not would determine the path that the patient would take in his hospital stay.  That’s a huge amount of responsibility.

Thankfully the patient was fairly stable and there were no major issues.  I think that is one of the most stressful things about working in the ICU…or in any area of the hospital at all, but I think that I am more aware of it now…is the fact that things can change so quickly.  A patient may be stable now, but could deteriorate very quickly.  Why you ask?  Well, think of it this way…the human body is made to compensate for different things that happen to it.  For example, a person can lose 25% of circulating body volume (blood) before blood pressure is affected!  That’s pretty crazy.  So you have to watch the trends…is the heart rate trending up while the blood pressure trends down.  Is the temp trending up?  Is the white blood cell count trending up?  It’s not just looking at the numbers at one point of time and saying, “oh, everything is all right.”

Anyways, those are my thoughts today and I’m tired and ready for bed so that’s where I’m headed.


Published in: on April 9, 2012 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment