Mastering Intensive Care 040 with Ed Litton

This week’s guest, Australian intensivist Dr Ed Litton, truly amazes and inspires me. Despite having a full-time clinical and research career, and a young family, Ed pursues his passion for adventure mostly through ultra-endurance exercise.

Many intensivists run, swim, cycle or do other sorts of vigorous exercise in their spare time. Some even run marathons, swim regularly with a squad or cycle long distances to and from work. Some do all 3 by competing in triathlon events. Yet not too many intensivists take on ironman triathlons like Ed does. And how many cycle across Australia from Sydney to Perth as he did a couple of years ago?

Ed uses adventure and exercise to keep refreshed for his busy medical career. So to me this podcast conversation is a real treat. Hearing about this massive cross-continent bike ride, the recent family cycling trip across the New Zealand Alps he and his wife did with their 2 young children, and his love for other physical pursuits like surfing and climbing, is both educational and inspiring.

Ed Litton is a Staff Specialist in Intensive Care Medicine and Director of ICU Research at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, Australia, and a Clinical Research Fellow in the ICU at St John of God Hospital in Subiaco. He is the recipient of a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship and is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia. Ed is a member of the executive committee of the Australia and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Centre for Outcomes Research Evaluation where he is clinical director of the Critical Care Resources Registry. He’s received over $6M in research support and published over 60 manuscripts in the peer reviewed literature.

I have admired Ed and his thoughtful approach to intensive care and to life for several years now. Apart from his approach to adventure and exercise he has many valuable perspectives on his bedside approach including:

  • What fascinates him about Intensive Care
  • Some of the things he learnt from his key mentors
  • The importance of reassurance for patients
  • Mixing patient-centred and digital information
  • The 2 phase ward round at his ICU
  • The internal pressure he felt as a new consultant to make fast decisions
  • Creating the right atmosphere in communicating with colleagues
  • His tendency to ruminate about his patients
  • Fatigue during ward rounds
  • His thoughts on sleep
  • How he uses meditation
  • The value of reading books
  • The difficulty in trying to be a jack of all trades in our careers.

Ed is caring, mature and very patient-focused. He’s also a super fit athlete. Please enjoy listening to the podcast.

People, organisations and resources mentioned in the episode:

Further reading and listening

Dr Andrew Davies MBBS FRACP FCIC. Intensivist/researcher at Frankston Hospital, Melbourne. Aiming to bring my best self to work & life. | Mastering Intensive Care | New Normal project |

One comment

  1. Hey Dr. Andrew! Very impressed and respectful of your journey and focus on adventure. Passion on all levels seems to fade with us as our careers advance, and I too have found that without pushing myself in other arenas (especially my gym time), I wouldn’t be nearly as happy or effective in my work as an ER physician.
    My best!
    Jim Kocjancic

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