CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, also known as Intensive Care Medicine, is a medical subspecialty dealing with day-to-day management of critically ill patients such as those in a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Patients requiring a Critical Care specialist typically include those with extreme illnesses such as unstable blood pressure, respiratory failure requiring ventilator management, renal failure, multiple system organ failure, sepsis, or cardiac arrhythmias. Non-critically ill patients may be admitted to the ICU when they require intensive monitoring and serial examinations. This typically occurs following major surgery or during an illness that has the potential of becoming catastrophic. Critical Care specialists perform all aspects of Critical Care, including endotracheal intubation and placement of intravenous central lines.
Although litigation in Critical Care Medicine is infrequent, allegations may arise involving improper treatment, procedural complications, or delayed diagnosis. More commonly, Critical Care specialists are called upon as experts on causation in order to discuss issues involving the management of critically ill patients.