A GP reflects on a torturous stay in a critical care unit

The torturers at Guantanamo Bay could learn a thing or two from critical care units (CCU).


On my first day in CCU, post-mitral valve and tricuspid valve repair, I was subjected to the constant cries of “help me!” from the demented patient in the next cubicle.

She had received palliative orthopaedic care, and cries for help with each breath were her normal, pre-admission behaviour. No matter what strategies the staff employed, nothing could calm her, and no sleep was possible for any patient in the unit.