Critical Care

The Critical Care team at MarinHealth Medical Center is comprised of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and a Step-Down Unit. The ICU provides specialized care for patients who require intensive monitoring around the clock, including patients recovering from open-heart surgery, trauma/neurosurgical patients, and patients experiencing multi-organ system failure. As an ICU patient’s condition stabilizes, he or she transitions to our Step-Down Unit, which provides specialized care to medically complicated patients.

Patients can come to the ICU from the Emergency Department (ED) or from other departments of the hospital. Because of the critical state of our patients, and the complex nature of the care we give, we have to set regulations and guidelines for visitors.

Our Team

Our multidisciplinary team is made up of a variety of intensive care experts and support staff working together seamlessly:

  • Intensivists are ICU doctors, board certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, anesthesiology, or surgery. Our intensivists have completed an additional fellowship and certification in critical care medicine. They oversee a patient’s medical care and diagnostic tests and are in charge of treatment decisions.
  • Registered nurses provide most of the hands-on, daily care. They evaluate patients several times a day, watch over their care, and monitor the equipment in the room. There are several shift changes over the course of each 24-hour period, so visitors usually meet several of the nurses caring for a loved one.
  • Respiratory therapists work with patients having difficulty breathing. This may include administering vapor medications and/or delivering extra oxygen through nasal prongs, a facemask, or ventilator.
  • Physical therapists help patients improve their strength and flexibility after an accident or illness.
  • Dietitians give advice about nutrition and special dietary concerns.
  • Social workers and case managers help with financial matters, insurance, community resources, and planning for the patient’s return home.
  • Chaplains are available for spiritual and emotional support for families and patients. We have priests, rabbis, ministers, and nondenominational chaplains available.
  • Technicians, support staff, and volunteers monitor medical equipment, draw blood, move patients, and serve meals.

Critical Care Specialists, also known as Intensivists, provide expert consultation for patients who are hospitalized in our Critical Care Unit, whether in Intensive Care or Step-Down Critical Care.

In Intensive Care (ICU), Critical Care Specialists see a wide variety of patients with life-threatening illnesses, including:

  • Problems with blood pressure or heart rhythm
  • Severe infections and sepsis
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Trauma
  • Respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation
  • Post-operative care

Intensivists collaborate with other medical specialists to provide comprehensive care to the patient. Most importantly, Intensivists provide counseling to patients and their families regarding prognosis and appropriate options for treatment in the ICU.