Six anesthesiologists and one surgeon are assigned to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, providing a 24/7 service to help manage critically ill patients. These five physicians have trained in the subspecialty of critical care medicine . The patients who are admitted to the ICU after surgery sometimes simply require further monitoring and may need advanced assistance. Usually, this is for respiratory insufficiency, airway management (respirator, breathing tubes), treatment of infections and maintaining blood flow to vital organs, often using special medications, fluids and mechanical devices. Occasionally procedures are performed at the bedside in the intensive care unit to treat specific emergencies. Patients referred to University Hospital may travel long distances from within the Rocky Mountain Region , for specialized health care.
A collaborative approach is in place between medical specialties and allied health care workers (ICU RNs, PharmD, Nutritionists, Respiratory therapists, Social Workers) to help solve complex issues and maintain patient flows throughout the hospital system.
There is active teaching for students, trainee doctors (both anesthesia and surgery residents are required to have ICU training) and others.
Other activity of this group includes specialized anesthesia (liver transplants, cardiothoracic anesthesia), research (including NIH grants, science labs) Journal Editorialship, publications and leadership roles within the hospital, medical school and national medical societies.