Introduction to The Vitals

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Psst…you, yeah, you. I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

…critical care is actually much simpler than you think it is (this is true for medicine in general, but let’s stick with critical care for now). This is both a heartbreaking and a beautiful fact.  It is heartbreaking because it causes anything from needless frustration to inappropriate medical decision making when caring for our sick patients.  However, if we could simplify things, it doesn’t have to be that way. And that is what is beautiful.

This is where The Vitals come in. We will be covering basic (and vital) information in critical care. It is the foundation.  If you can truly master these topics, you can master anything.  The inverse is also true: you cannot understand the more complex ideas if you cannot master the basics.   The whole sexy world of Critical Care is your oyster, if you understand the basics.

The Vitals is not just for learners.  Sure, we hope that students and residents new to critical care will find these posts helpful.  However, even more experienced practitioners can benefit.  You want to be able to troubleshoot vent waveforms on a machine you’ve never seen before, you better understand the basics. You want to create a massive transfusion protocol at your hospital, you better understand the basics.  You want to convince hospital administration that high flow oxygen is a worthy investment, you better understand the basics.  You want to devise a multi-site randomized controlled clinical trial on whether Tide pods treat COVID-19, you better understand the basics.  (But don’t. Just don’t.)

Our goal is to re-introduce the foundations of critical care.  We hope to present them without the troublesome semantics that made them so confusing the first time you learned about them.  At times it might seem as if we “dumbed down” a topic but that’s only so that you can truly grasp it and innately understand the “smarted up” version of the same idea.  We want you to help you become and remain true masters in the field.  And we hope to hear from you about topics you would like to be covered.

I learned early in life that the first step in becoming a Karate master is waxing a car.  Thankfully, the first step in becoming a master of Critical Care is way less taxing.

We present to you: The Vitals

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