A world-renowned critical-care doctor offers hope for patients, their families, and the future of medicine in this timely, urgent, and compassionate work about the devastating and little-known physical and emotional effects of ICU stays.
As COVID-19 survivors are discharged from hospitals, grateful to be alive, most don't realise that the hardest part of their battle may be about to begin. Many will return home and struggle with long-term physical, mental, and emotional problems either caused or exacerbated by the life-saving treatment they received in intensive care. They'll join the ranks of critical-care survivors whose lives are completely upturned by a hospital stay. More than half of the patients admitted to ICUs will struggle with post-intensive care syndrome, which can include Alzheimer's-like cognitive deficits, PTSD, muscle and nerve damage, and depression. Their personal and professional lives can suffer irreparably. Worst of all, no one seems to understand that they have an illness at all. Not even their doctors.
Dr Ely is now a leader in the field of ICU survivorship - advocating for compassionate care in the technology-driven enclave of the modern ICU - especially relevant during the coronavirus pandemic. In Every Deep-Drawn Breath, Dr Ely sounds a warning for the millions of people who will be admitted to ICUs in coming years and a wake-up call for healthcare professionals - himself included - to turn their gaze from the latest life-saving machines to really see, as he says, 'the person in the patient'.
'A stunning, heartbreaking, and hopeful book, expressing Dr Ely's profound union of compassion and medical skill. Given that most of us will stay in an ICU, attend a loved one there, or even die in one, I hope that many readers demand treatment according to the humane practices Dr Ely has pioneered. I equally hope that every critical care doctor and hospital administrator reads this beautiful book, puts its protocols into practice, and makes their ICUs more humane and medically effective.' -Katy Butler, author of Knocking on Heaven's Door 'Every Deep-Drawn Breath is an enthralling journey through the ongoing evolution of critical care. In this richly illustrated book, with stories of people who teetered on the edge of death and survived to find their lives forever changed, Dr Ely, a thought leader in his field, reveals hard lessons he's learned, innovations he's led, and his compelling, bright vision for the future of medicine.' -Dr Ira Byock, active emeritus professor at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, author of Dying Well and The Best Care Possible, founder and chief medical officer of the Institute for Human Caring 'A remarkable book from a legendary physician. Dr Ely revolutionised critical care and now, through stories that are intimate, honest, and brave, he reveals the failings and the great promise of the field. This could not be more timely - in the wake of a pandemic that challenged the humanity of our profession, Ely shows us the road forward. A must read.' -Dr Daniela Lamas, author of You Can Stop Humming Now- a doctor's stories of life, death, and in between