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Critical Care’s”Magic potion”:needs the right amount of practical, artificial intelligence and Emotional intelligence

During the first half of 20th century, almost every year, large parts of the population around the world became infected with polio. The virus seem to affect young children, initially leading to flu- like symptoms during the summer months.

In August 1952, Danish capital Copenhagen was overwhelming with serious cases of polio which was attacking the nervous system of young patients- leading upto significant problems with their ability to breathe.

It all sounds very similar to what the world is facing during this Pandemic of COVID-19!

Everything of this saga reminds me of the time and challenges we are facing now – even today after 70 years of medical progress and ground breaking advancement in care.

During 1950’s it was the “iron-lungs” which were the main stay of ventilators and today’s it’s the mechanical ventilators- the world is still challnged with similar problems now and then.

But, Bjorn Ibsen’s a Danish Anaesthetist had immense “practical intelligence” of  ventilating patients differently with help of medical students . Ibsens’s strategy saved many lives and led to the establishment of world first Critical care units.
I am sure  like we celebrate and talk about Ibsen today,we will be celebrating and talking about  more doctors, nurses, healthcare providers once we overcome this pandemic.


“Artificial intelligence (AI)” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica is – system endowed with the intellectual process characteristic of humans, such as ability to reach, discover meaning, generalise, or learn from past experience”.

During this pandemic when critical care teams have to analyse no less than 236 variables to make a decision for a sick patient – AI has been put to test in remote monitoring, prediction of responsiveness to treatment, managing ventilators,reporting X-rays and CT scans,  identifying and prioritising more sick patients, reducing morbidity and mortality ect.

Although,AI is still in its infancy – it will become cornerstone for world class critical care in near future and this pandemic will be a single largest inflection point in its routine use for Critical care in India and around the world.

Harvey Cushing – not only hailed as the father of neurosurgery, but being the cornerstone of “emotional intelligence” practice – in 1970’s he looked at everything in details from patient bedsheets, wounds, post operative monitoring, home care, quality of life, family- thus  transforming surgery of head with another dimension of emotional intelligence and care into the “Midas touch”.

In Critical care medicine, IQ is necessary to master and critically assess the volume and complexity of information integral to contemporary medical education. But past this threshold, success in Critical care medicine is ultimately more about emotional intelligence.

21st century critical care teams need these three abilities: To effectively manage teams, coordinate care and engender behavior change in patients and colleagues. For the “magic potion” : right amount of practical, artificial and emotional intelligence will become the “holy grail” of 21st century care.

Wish you a speedy recovery and good health.
Dr.Shailesh JhawarFRCA, CCST(UK) 

Fellowship – Critical care & Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia (UK)

Apex Hospitals, Jaipur.

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