The survival of criticare patients gets better if specialists in critical care medicine manage them personally. Researchers at Johns Hopkins and Pittsburgh University have analysed the evidence on managing patients in intensive care units (ICUs). They have found that patients do much better if they are cared for by a doctor who is a specialist in critical care medicine.
Previous research has suggested that the involvement of an 'intensivist' reduces death rates by ten per cent. This study suggests that figure is as large as 30 per cent. It means that the potential lives saved each year by employing such experts could be 162,000. Patients in hospitals where there are intensivists have both reduced ICU and hospital deaths and a reduced length of stay in the ICU. But at present, only one hospital in ten employs these critical care specialists.