Intensive Care Unit

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US Navy 060502-N-1577S-004 A look at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) aboard Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).jpg

An intensive care unit (or ICU) is a part of the hospital that is designed specifically for taking the most seriously-ill or injured patients and untangling all their wires.[1] The length of stay in an intensive care unit is directly proportional to the number of IVs, central lines, catheters, telemetry wires, and other devices sticking out of the patient's body. Untangling may be done as quickly as overnight and as long as 4 years.[2] It is not uncommon to have multiple subspecialties working together to remove all pertinent wires, tubes, and drains in a carefully-orchestrated waltz: nurses to remove peripheral IVs, cardiology to remove telemetry, pulmonary and CT surgery to remove chest tubes, respiratory therapy to remove dislodged tracheostomy tubes, gastroenterology to manipulate the PEG and rectal tube, nephrology and urology to manage the Foleys and percutaneous nephrostomy tubes without yanking anything, and interventional radiology to remove the endotracheal tube.

Can You Untangle These?


  1. ICU Team Excited to Untangle Lines After Patient Dropped Off from OR (Gomerblog)
  2. It Took Over 3 Years, But ICU Team Finally Finishes Untangling All Those Lines (Gomerblog)

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