Vital Signs: Stories from intensive care (Paperback)Ken Hillman (author)
Paperback 240 Pages / Published: 30/11/2009
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The majority of us now die in hospitals and many of us will end up in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the last few days of our lives. Yet for most people, what happens in an ICU remains a mystery. This collection of stories about the experiences of intensive care patients, their families and carers, is about ordinary people facing terrible tragedies and the ways they cope with them. The author, a practicing intensive care clinician, takes the reader on a journey inside an ICU and reveals to the public, for the first time, what really happens inside ICU. The book traces the personal tragedies of ICU patients and their families and the struggles of staff providing care in this critical environment. The core function of the ICU has slowly changed from being life saving to becoming life sustaining - even when there is no hope of a meaningful recovery. Admission to the ICU is often sudden and unexpected and there are few guidelines for dealing with dying under these circumstances. ICU patients are often in a coma or sedated, which means decisions relating to their care must be made by their families. Many of the stories in this collection are about the dilemmas associated with withdrawing and withholding treatment that are faced by family and medical staff in ICU each day. They are about the ways we die and the ways we deal with death. They are about the people who care for us in our last moments: not only our friends and family, but the doctors and nurses who care for us and face these tragedies daily. The book carefully details the pressures on staff and the ways they cope with the intensity of providing this level of care. It is brimming with moments of humour and sadness that cut through the institutional reality of ICU, revealing the very human experience of this institution.
Publisher: UNSW Press
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 23 mm
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