Many important characters play a role in the narrative of the intensive care unit (ICU)—including the ICU team, patients, and families. The partnership between these key characters is vital to a patient’s care and recovery, its impact extending beyond the walls of the ICU. The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) recognizes and celebrates this teamwork with its ICU Heroes Award.
SCCM presented its 2016 ICU Heroes Award to a team from the University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The winning ICU team includes pediatric surgery team leader Venkataraman Ramachandran, MD, along with team members Abdallah Dalabih, MD, MBA and Patricia Wankum, MD, Craig Downs, MD, Carroll King, MD, Erin Heath, RN, Jane Emerson, MD, Jordan Anderson, PharmD, Sarah Niedergerke, RN, Eliav Gov-Ari, MD, Peter Dyke, MD, and Daniel Hoernschemeyer, MD, and their 6-year-old patient, MQ.
MQ’s ICU story exemplifies the importance of collaboration in multiprofessional care. After a motor vehicle accident, MQ arrived at the hospital with blunt trauma. She was found to have an extensive diagnosis, including multiple bone fractures and internal organ injuries, grade 4 liver laceration, esophageal tear, bilateral pneumothoraces, lung contusions, and hypovolemic shock.
Once stabilized, MQ was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where she was cared for by a team that included a pediatric critical care physician, pediatric surgeon, cardiologist, orthopedic surgeon, and bedside nurses. She went through more than 40 procedures during her 59-day stay in the PICU, the team working harmoniously to provide care for MQ. The triumph of their efforts was not only reflected in her physical recovery, but also long after she left the PICU.
“Although our patient had severe injuries and significant infarct, she did great. She is back to school full time, and scoring above average in her classes. She is able to play, dance and run with no noticeable deficiency, and she has an impressive Barbie collection,” said team member Dr. Dalabih.
“This amazing 6-year-old girl describes her stay in the hospital (mostly intubated but not sedated) as a stay in a hotel. She has no fear of hospitals, and she enjoys giving high fives to all the doctors and nurses in the PICU when she visits,” said Dr. Dalabih. “This how ICU teams work together, to make a difference in the lives of our patients.”
MQ has clearly left an impact on her ICU team; she is a resilient patient deserving of the title “ICU Hero.”