Several faculty members from the Department of Critical Care Medicine, as well as pioneering figure Peter Safar, feature in the most recent issue of Pitt Med magazine. In “Identity Triumphs,” Robyn K. Coggins depicts the unique environment in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Coggins highlights the interplay among physicians like Rajesh Aneja (Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine), Robert Clark (Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Pediatrics), and other team members in the PICU, and points to the PICU’s collaborative environment as a contributing factor to its extremely low mortality rate of 2 percent. Coggins claims that the PICU’s atmosphere of reciprocity is especially remarkable in the way that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers are all “working together in a communicative, interdependent way within a system that’s historically been hierarchical and fraught with egos.” The illustration from the PICU helps introduces the concept of interprofessionalism that is explored in more detail in the rest of the article, and which could serve as a guiding principle to help improve the quality of care.
In “The Rush to the Hospital,” Jenny Blair (with Erica Lloyd) outlines the University of Pittsburgh’s role in advancing emergency care. Several innovations in emergency care receive particular mention, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the concept of ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation), both of which were developed by Peter Safar, a pioneer of Critical Care Medicine in the 1950s and ‘60s. Safar also helped to develop early curriculum for paramedics, along with Nancy Caroline, an alumna of CCM’s Multidisciplinary Critical Care Fellowship Training Program (’76). The authors also highlight several new or impending developments in EMS care. While not mentioned specifically in this piece, the ThinkSepsis app developed in part by Christopher Seymour, Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, is an exciting example. Seymour and the ThinkSepsis team launched a crowdfunding campaign, which ended last Wednesday, to equip EMS providers with the tools to identify sepsis in patients. The campaign, the first foray by Pitt academicians into crowd funding, “was a tremendous success,” says Seymour.
Finally, in a short piece called “The Most Kissed Face,” Jamar Thrasher and Erica Lloyd write about L’inconnue de la Seine, or the Unknown Woman of the Seine, who drowned in the Parisian river at the end of the 19th century. This young woman’s face bore such a remarkable expression that the mortician made a death mask of it, which would later be used by Safar and toy maker Asmund Laerdal when designing the original CPR mannequin, known as Resusci Annie.