An Intensivist is a board-certified physician who provides special care for critically ill patients. Also known as a Critical Care Physician, the Intensivist has advanced training and experience in treating this complex type of patient.
After medical school, an Intensivist completes a residency and board certification in a specialty such as surgery, internal medicine, pulmonary medicine or pediatrics, plus an additional two- to three-year fellowship and certification in critical care medicine.
Rather than focusing on specific body systems – like Cardiologists (the heart and vascular system) or Pulmonologists (the lungs and respiratory system) – Intensivists take a comprehensive approach to caring for ICU patients.
The Intensivist has the primary responsibility for the ICU patient’s care versus acting as a consultant, as many specialists do. In this role, he or she leads a team of caregivers who are experts in different specialties. The Intensivist also oversees the many decisions involved in a critically ill patient’s care, and coordinates all the other services the patient may need – including those from specialists.
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