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Introduction

Information for Patients

The Critical Care Assembly of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) is a group of doctors and other hospital staff who are experts in taking care of critically ill patients. As we developed a Website for our Assembly, we noticed that there was no place where the families of critically ill patients could get information on common practices in the intensive care unit (ICU). The best approach is to get information from the doctors and nurses who are caring for your loved ones. Don't hesitate to ask questions and ask for a time to talk about what is happening. It may be hard, however, to understand the difficult medical issues involved in a critical illness - issues that it took us years to learn in medical and nursing schools. We have written a series of information sheets to assist you in understanding some common tests and treatments. We also know some patients who are facing death and their families face difficult decisions. We have worked with leaders from the Center to Improve Care of the Dying and the State of Connecticut Attorney General's Office to provide information about making decisions for patients who are likely to die. We hope the information on this Website helps you through a difficult time and adds to what you learn from the ICU staff at your hospital.


Note: This document is for general information purposes only. It is not intended as, and should not be relied upon for, medical advice or as a comprehensive list of every risk or benefit associated with a particular procedure, drug or device, although every effort has been made to represent information that is current and accurate. By including this information, the ATS is not recommending specific actions or decisions; all critical care decisions should be made in consultation with a physician who can assess the facts and circumstances of a particular patient's care. The ATS disclaims any liability arising out of the use of this document or for any adverse outcome from the application of this information for any reason, including but not limited to the reader's misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the information contained within this document. Please consult with the doctor providing treatment regarding any questions or concerns that you may have related to your (or your loved one's) care.