What is an ICU Specialist?

22 Jan 2019

Dr C Danbury, MB BS, M.Phil, FRCP, FRCA, FFICM

The latest expert to join the team is Dr Chris Danbury, MB BS, M.Phil, FRCP, FRCA, FFICM.  He is a Consultant Intensive Care Physician trained and assessed to be proficient in the comprehensive clinical management of critically ill patients as the leader of a multi-disciplinary team.  In this article, we explore what an Intensive Care specialist does, the skills they need to have to be successful in their role and how their experience can be useful in supporting medicolegal cases.

A specialist in intensive care medicine is usually found in the intensive care or trauma unit with accountability for patients who are critically ill and require high dependency care.  Intensive care specialists or intensivists are highly trained clinicians with specialist training and skills in life support and organ support systems for patients who are critically ill.  They treat a range of patients suffering from a number of life-threatening conditions, including cardiac arrhythmias, respiratory or airway difficulties, acute renal or multiple organ failure, and hypertension/hypotension instability.

The intensivist will be highly trained to be proficient in leading a multi-disciplinary team of specialists across a number of clinical specialisms and in the appropriate escalation of care.  Their clinical skills include the ability to recognise and manage symptoms associated with severe medical, surgical, obstetric and paediatric conditions and to diagnose and treat patients using both invasive and non-invasive diagnostic techniques, as well as closely monitoring and providing optimum treatment to support their vital organs.

The intensivist is an expert in end of life care, the diagnosis of brain death and care and support of the organ donor. They have first rate communication skills, which are a pre-requisite of their role, as they routinely need to ensure effective engagement and communication with patients, relatives, referring clinicians and team members.  An effective intensivist will seek to continuously develop their skills and knowledge to maintain the exceptional level of skill and judgement they are required to use.

Medicolegal Expert Witness

An Intensivist can be instructed on a range of cases, including medical negligence claims for both the claimant and defendant and as a single joint expert, for cases involving intensive care medicine, anaesthetics and post-operative care, including but not limited to:

Sepsis Intensive Care Medicine Critical Care
Resuscitation Early Warning Scores Recognition of severe illness
Medical Emergency Teams Anaesthesia Mechanical Ventilation
Trauma End of Life Spinal/nerve block
Meningitis Encephalitis Air Embolism
Central/Arterial Line Acute Kidney Disorders Intravenous Fluids
Hospital Acquired Infection Pulmonary Embolus Lumbar Punctures
Pressure Sores Infection Control Delayed/Inadequate Treatment

About Dr Danbury

Dr Chris Danbury MB BS, M.Phil, FRCP, FRCA, FFICM, Consultant Intensive Care Physician, joined Medicolegal Associates’ team of experts at the end of last year.  He has almost 30 years’ experience as a doctor and has been at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading since 2002.  He is a medical specialist trained and assessed to be proficient in the comprehensive clinical management of critically ill patients as the leader of a multi-disciplinary team.

He trained in general internal medicine and anaesthesia before switching to intensive care medicine and was appointed in 2002 as a Consultant Intensive Physician in one of the busiest District General Hospital Intensive Care Units in England. The unit has an excellent record and is widely known as a centre of excellence.

After gaining a M.Phil in Medical Law, he was offered a personal appointment as Visiting Fellow in Health Law by the Senate of the University of Reading in 2005, which he still holds today.

Dr Danbury is an experienced expert and has been instructed in cases reaching the High Court, Court of Protection, Coroner’s Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He has extensive experience of giving oral evidence in Court, including ‘hot-tubbing’.

Download his CV here.

To instruct Dr Danbury or discuss a case with him, please get in touch via Medicolegal Partners on 020 7118 0650 or info@medicolegal-partners.com