STEM Live speaker explores the fascinating sphere of intensive care

STEM Live speaker explores the fascinating sphere of intensive care

22 March 2024

In his STEM Live talk on Thursday 21 March, Dr Brijesh Patel, Clinical Director, Academic Consultant in Critical Care at Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals and Imperial College London, offered students, staff and guests a myriad of remarkable insights into the world of intensive care and his work on artificial hearts and lungs.

As well as an in depth look at how and why hearts and lungs fail, Dr Patel described new life support technologies currently being developed, not just to keep patients alive but to help them heal well and have a good life. He shared the history of the development of intensive care with his audience, including nurse Florence Nightingale’s work during the Crimean war, describing her as the first intensive care researcher; the huge ‘iron lung’ that helped patients with polio breathe during the 1950s epidemic, and today’s small mobile life support systems, which allow patients to walk about rather than being confined to bed. Dr Patel explained how he and others continue to build on earlier pioneering work in the field of intensive care – with the Covid pandemic a catalyst for many rapid developments - and was keen to point out the vital role that business plays, through the funding of research.  

Dr Patel, who describes ‘curiosity’ as his driver, also looked ahead to a very different landscape for critical care in 20 years’ time, transformed by AI and other developments. Without doubt, Dr Patel achieved his aim, expressed at the start of the evening, to inspire our students to become doctors, scientists or researchers. And what an exciting future awaits them.

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