Surgical patients requiring postoperative admission to the intensive care unit often necessitate a large team of physicians to work together toward assuring their recovery. It has been well documented in the literature that these types of patients are better served by a closed-model ICU, wherein their primary physician is an intensivist and the operative surgeon is a consultant. This effective model, however, is not flawless and requires patience, conflict management skills, and open-mindedness on behalf of the surgeon and intensivist. Failures in communication are a leading cause of medical error, and for this reason it is imperative that surgeons distribute information to the entire care team and intensivists must effectively coordinate the care and manage the patient. The highlighted case of a 63-year-old African American gentleman who underwent repair of his ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and serial surgeries to manage his complicated postoperative course illustrates how patient outcomes are affected by communication between the surgeon and intensivist and the coordination of multiple services in a closed-model ICU.
Surgeon Intensivist Intensive care unit Communication Conflict Emotional intelligence
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