The amount of financial and other resources used by physicians in the treatment of critically ill patients makes it incumbent upon physicians to ensure that sufficient benefit is obtained from these resources and that physicians are in fact doing good for their patients. Knowing that one is in fact doing good requires an understanding of what counts as benefit. Current medical practice suggests that patient benefit is typically understood in terms of physiological changes and responses, highlighting the role of medical subspecialties in patient care. An alternative view is suggested, which requires a broader understanding by physicians of patient needs and welfare. This broader understanding calls for an ambitious research agenda so that physicians will be able to learn how they can genuinely help critically ill patients and their families during times of illness. Carrying out such an agenda requires overcoming the ethical challenges of performing research on patients as vulnerable as critically ill patients. It also requires physicians to establish collaborative ties with other professionals so that truly interdisciplinary research can be performed on a routine basis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine