For me, the best definition of critical care is still that given by Peter Safar in 1974:
“We have defined “critical care medicine” as the triad of 1) resuscitation, 2) emergency care for life-threatening conditions, and 3) intensive care; including all components of the emergency and critical care medicine delivery system, prehospital and hospital.”
Critical care involves all those who look after the dying and the ‘at-risk-of-dying’ — wherever and whenever.
Yet it is one thing to know what critical care is, knowing what makes it what it is — what is at its core — is another. I asked Scott Weingart of EMCrit.org to tell us just what is the essence of critical care in the opening talk of SMACC.
Here is what he said:
- Safar P. Critical care medicine—quo vadis? Crit Care Med. 1974Jan-Feb;2(1):1-5.
Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.
After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.
He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE. He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.
His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.
On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.