Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.
Here is a brief summary.
“My name is Gabriel. I have been an intensive care physician since 2007. A magical and unique adventure where I never know what is going to happen. In the last 10 years I have cried and laughed, I shared suffering and hope. I helped many people with technological and emotional support but I did not receive training on psychological management skills.
I have also witnessed death way too many times, much more than the rest of the population.
Since I started to work, it has not changed much the situation in which “there is nothing going on”. But yes. Not just me, many ICU professionals feel that much remains to be done.
For me and my team it is very difficult to deal with death. We blame ourselves, we think what we didn’t, or what we failed. Perhaps we have unrealistic expectations of what is humanly possible.
In Spain, we don´t conceive death as something natural. I was born in a vibrant country and, in general, people prefer not to think about death.
No tubes or catheters, or action futile if the result is not an acceptable life quality.
For me it is really curious that we, as organized human beings, prepare our vacations to the last detail, plan our birthdays or weddings months in advance, yet we ignore death or how we want to die or be treated in our last hours on this earth!
By providing relief from pain, by giving solace to the despairing, company to the lonely, and a comforting hand for the frightened, we will provide dignity in death. At times this is more effective than the miracles of modern science and technology.
As physicians, we were taught to preserve life. But we also have the responsibility to educate people in the hard reality of life’s end: death. We must take up this challenge to train staff and management alike in the how and the why of end-of-life situations: communication, empathy, bedside manners, and preparing for grief. Some might think that palliative care in intensive care is incongruous
However, we should try to bring together the best treatment available with the best multidisciplinary care to ease the patient’s dying process. Working with common sense: maintaining autonomy, physical and emotional comfort and ensuring communication among those involved. And to avoid surprises and negative reactions.
That “Cure sometimes, relieve often, and comfort always’’” which remains as valid two centuries later. And transform today’s reality into a better journey down life’s ICU path.