Florence Nightingale is known to most as the founder of modern nursing. But now, intensivists (specialists in intensive or critical care) claim she belongs to their clan.
They believe it is Nightingale’s work and a school of nursing established on the basis of her work that paved the way for intensive care medicine.
Before Nightingale’s arrival on the scene, mortality rate of hospitalised soldiers was as high as 40 per cent, thanks to lack of critical care and high rate of infection. After her arrival, it fell to 2 per cent.
All new hospitals, the number of beds notwithstanding, are now equipped with ICUs (Intensive Care Units).
Patients who need intensive or invasive monitoring, particularly after major surgeries, need intensive care management.
Patients suffering from instability in blood pressure (hypertension or hypotension), respiratory problems, acute renal failure, irregular heart beat and, in the worst-case scenario, multiple organ failure need to be admitted to the ICU.
Intensive care is usually offered to those patients whose condition is potentially reversible and have a good chance of survival with ICU support.Quality critical care
Earlier, patients who needed quality critical care had to be taken to either Hyderabad or Chennai. Even corporate hospitals lacked heavy-duty equipment and trained manpower for proper critical care management.
The government’s announcement that an AIIMS-type Central government-funded institute will be established at Mangalagiri indicated that the gap in health care services would be bridged, but there is, however, a gestation period for the project.
Meanwhile, two corporate hospitals, one headquartered in Hyderabad and the other a local one, have opened branches with beds earmarked for ‘world-class’ critical care management.
Kamineni Hospitals managing director K. Sashidhar said 125 out of the 350 beds at the hospital in Vijayawada had been earmarked for managing patients who needed critical care.
The group also has the support of two medical colleges and two nursing colleges to provide highly skilled manpower.
The Heart and Brain Institute of Andhra Hospitals group has also earmarked 60 of the 100 beds for patients who need intensive care. Andhra Hospitals CMD P. Ramana Murthy said the Heart and Brain Institute was the first in Andhra Pradesh to get an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machine for patients who needed more than ventilators to survive.