Ten years of advancement and care: ICU for all Victorians
More critically ill and injured patients are being cared for in The Alfred’s 45-bed intensive care unit than ever before as the hospital marks 10 years since the modern facility opened its doors.
Since the $25 million redevelopment and expansion, more than 24,000 of the State’s sickest patients have received leading care following car accidents, falls, assaults, burns or those battling acute illness.
To mark the anniversary, the ICU team welcomed newly appointed Victorian Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos, who visited the unit and met with staff.
“The Alfred’s dedicated ICU doctors and nurses do a remarkable job,” Minister Mikakos said. “We will continue to give them the support they need to deliver world class care for our sickest patients, from all ends of the State.”
Minister Mikakos met with former patient Stephanie Wilson, who was back in the ICU to visit with staff for the first time since they saved her life a year ago.
Steph had severe hereditary pulmonary hypertension that led to acute bleeding from the lung.
“I faced death twice, but they kept me here, it’s amazing what they can do,” Steph said.
The ICU team kept her alive using multiple interventions, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a heart and lung bypass machine that oxygenated her blood. In early 2018, Steph received the life-saving donation of new lungs.
Intensive Care Unit director, A/Prof Steve McGloughlin said The Alfred looks after 25 per cent of total admissions to tertiary ICUs in Victoria.
“The Alfred is the only hospital in Australia that has an ICU specialist on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” A/Prof McGloughlin said. “We want our patients to have the same care they would receive at 2am on a Sunday as they would mid-morning on a Wednesday.”
Home to state-wide services including major trauma, heart and lung transplantation, burns and hyperbaric medicine, The Alfred’s ICU is for all Victorians – with patients from across the State and beyond arriving via air and road for this specialist care.
“Our specialist care has enabled our staff to develop skills in certain areas and save patients that in the past may not have made it,” Dr McGloughlin said.
“It’s a big team that comes together to care for patients, it’s a challenge and a real privilege to be a part of it.”
Funding for the 2008-completed redevelopment and expansion came from the Victorian Government ($20.2 million), with a further $5.2 million coming from philanthropic support from many individuals and organisations including a significant donation from Lindsay and Paula Fox and family. The dedicated Fox Family Trauma Wing in the unit was named in recognition of their support.