Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Chance to Check Balance of Science and Care in ICU

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Chance to Check Balance of Science and Care in ICU

Article excerpt

SWANNELL

PETER SWANNELL

ICU, (Intensive Care Unit). That's been my life over the past fortnight. I want to tell you about it because it's been a traumatic experience!

When an ugly old man gets crook as happened to me a fortnight ago, things must happen remarkably quickly.

I can't tell you what my problem was because I can't describe it. All I can say is that the three main players in addition to yours truly were my wife, my daughter and St Vincent's ICU riddled with images of the crucifix and staffed by magnificent professionals. They took care of my bum and stopped me dying. I didn't know how sick I was before I was too sick to do anything about it on my own.

An induced coma, two operations and a lot of care enhanced my chances of survival. Since I'm now dictating this to my wife 10 days later, it would appear that I am winning. Thank goodness for a fantastic team of surgeons and nurses.

There are times when one's health and wellbeing depend entirely on others. The "patient" has gone beyond helping him/herself and has no choice but to surrender to the help of the professionals.

I hope that sick or potentially sick Australians appreciate how lucky we are to have a country where distance and isolation do not usually prevent us from having access to that professional care. Sure, sometimes it takes a long time. Sure, not everyone has access to that professional care of the quality we are privileged to have in Toowoomba and other regional cities.

When one is lying flat on one's back with plenty of time to contemplate the situation, there is a real chance to watch professionals go about their work. There is no doubt the way successful outcomes can be achieved is to recognise the needs of the "clients" (patients) and allow that in part to dictate how the staff do their work. At the same time we must recognise that the medical staff are the experts. …

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