Every Deep-Drawn Breath
A Critical Care Doctor on Healing, Recovery, and Transforming Medicine in the ICU
A world-renowned critical care doctor offers hope for ICU patients and their families in this timely, urgent, and compassionate narrative.
Over the next ten years, 40 to 60 million people in this country will be admitted to the ICU. Most of these hospitalizations will be sudden, unexpected, and harrowing, experiences that can alter patients and their families physically and emotionally, with effects that endure for years.
Every Deep-Drawn Breath is a rich blend of science, medical history, profoundly humane patient stories, and personal reflection. Dr. Wes Ely’s mission is to prevent patients from being inadvertently harmed by the technology that is keeping them alive. Readers will experience the world of critical care through the eyes of this physician who drastically changed his clinical practice, and through cutting-edge research convinced others to do the same.
For decades, millions of ICU survivors left the hospital with disabling symptoms including newly acquired dementia, depression, PTSD, and nerve damage, all now recognized as Post Intensive Care Syndrome, or PICS (a severe subset of Long Covid symptoms). Dr. Ely’s groundbreaking investigations advanced the understanding of PICS and introduced crucial changes that reshaped intensive care: minimizing sedation, maximizing mobility, attending to the family, and providing supportive aftercare. Dr. Ely shows that this new way—technology plus touch—is the future of healthcare, and is a proven path toward reclaiming life. Full of wisdom and heart, Every Deep-Drawn Breath is an essential resource for anyone who will be affected by critical illness, which is all of us.