Emergencies happen. According to the Society of Critical Care Medicine, more than five million people are admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) in the United States each year. In the St. Louis region, Washington University Acute and Critical Care Surgery provides leading expertise in treating critically ill and injured patients at a designated Level 1 Trauma Center.
Reasons for admission to the ICU can range from appendicitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome to burns and acute injuries from car crashes.
Washington University acute and critical care surgeons provide 24-hour care to all critically ill and injured patients in the surgical ICU at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
“Our goal is to provide the earliest and best possible treatment to critically ill and injured patients, whose medical care in the first few hours after an injury can have a profound effect on their outcome,” says Chief of Acute and Critical Care Surgery Grant Bochicchio, MD, MPH.
The trauma center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital has earned the distinction of Level I verification from the American College of Surgeons, the highest national recognition possible. Washington University Acute and Critical Care Surgery coordinates the care of all adult trauma patients referred to the medical center. Patients often come from accident scenes and emergency rooms or inpatient treatment facilities at community hospitals. The trauma center is equipped with the latest technology to care for these patients. A heliport conveniently located on the roof, and private elevator access makes air transfers more convenient and less disruptive.
Acute and critical care surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are part of a multidisciplinary team dedicated to limb preservation. People with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease are at high risk of vascular problems in the legs and feet, making it more difficult to treat and heal wounds. These wounds and other complications can lead to amputation. Limb preservation surgeons are focused on improving the outcomes for these patients and helping them avoid amputation when possible.
“Our hope is to provide a unique combination of care, which includes acute and critical care, vascular, and plastic and reconstructive surgery,” says acute and critical care surgeon John Kirby, MD. “This truly multidisciplinary program will help us achieve the best outcomes for our patients with limb-threatening conditions.” Kirby, who is an expert in hyperbaric oxygen therapy and wound care, is a co-director of the limb preservation program.
Acute and critical care surgeons are also at the forefront of research to improve the care of these patients. Research partnerships with governmental agencies, industries and foundations advance patient care and critical care medicine as a whole. These research efforts include studies to determine the best way to help people breathe during an emergency, treatments that may reduce the time a patient spends on a ventilator and new ways of addressing excessive bleeding during trauma.
Washington University Acute and Critical Care Surgery extends its expert care throughout the community and region. In addition to the Level 1 Trauma Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, acute and critical care surgeons provide care at Christian Hospital in North St. Louis and Memorial Hospital of Carbondale in southern Illinois.
To learn more about Washington University Acute and Critical Care Surgery, visit the section website.