Intensivists Provide Expertise in Busy ICUs
For two years, physicians trained in the specialty of critical care medicine—called intensivists—have been watching over the most vulnerable of patients at NorthBay Medical Center and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital.
“It’s quite a testimonial to NorthBay Healthcare’s commitment to providing the highest standards of patient care that this program exists,” explains Sreenivasa Ravuri, M.D. “Most intensivists are found in large cities or in teaching hospitals.”
Patients whose conditions are life-threatening and who require comprehensive care and constant monitoring following surgery or illness, are monitored by a team of intensivists in the Intensive Care Units 24 hours a day.
With an on-going presence, intensivists are able to immediately assess changes in a critically ill patient, explains Dr. Ravuri, medical director for the Delphi Group, a practice of intensivist physicians serving NorthBay’s hospitals.
The intensivist also can assist a patient’s own doctor in caring for a critical illness and is available as a consultant to all members of the medical staff.
“We care for the sickest patients in the hospital,” Dr. Ravuri says. “Many of them have multiple conditions that need care. While the cases can be complex, it is so rewarding to see your patients walk out of the hospital.”
At any one time, patients in the ICU can include accident victims, patients requiring post-operative care following complex surgeries, patients in respiratory failure or those with heart and lung problems. “You must think and act quickly because a patient’s condition can change in an instant,” says Dr. Ravuri, an intensivist since 1992.
Intensivists often recognize changes earlier, which can lead to a shorter length of stay in the ICU and a shorter time the patient stays on a ventilator. The intensivist also can assist a patient’s own doctor in caring for a critical illness and is available as a consultant to all members of the medical staff.
And, studies show that an intensivist program can reduce hospital mortality by 30 percent.