Dr. Kirby Slifer has been appointed medical director of critical-care medicine and is thrilled to be "home again."
"I grew up in the area (Cedar Lake) and, to be back practicing in this field of medicine in this close community, well, you just can't beat being at home," said Slifer
, who lives in Winfield.
An intensivist is a physician with subspecialty training in critical-care medicine.In his
new position, Slifer
directs the care of critically ill patients and works with other health-care professionals.
The benefits of a full-time intensivist are two-fold.According to The Leapfrog Group Web site (www.leapfroggroup.org), a group composed of more than 150 public and private organizations that identify problems and propose solutions for hospital systems, it is better for the patient's health and reduces costs - for patient and hospital.
"The addition of a full-time intensivist to the (intensive-care unit) staff promotes better decision-making, which improves quality and reduces cost," the site states. Slifer
"Due to their subspecialty training, intensivists use evidence-based knowledge as to particular indications of the ordering of certain tests and procedures," he
said."Some hospitals have shown that they have saved more than a million dollars a year due to a more effective use of resources."
A full-time physician on-site is especially beneficial for critical-care patients.
"My desk is five feet away from the cardiac intensive-care unit," said Slifer
."Because of this, I can also provide frequent communication, reassurance and/or peace of mind to the patient and his
family." The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Hospitals
provides another nod to this hospital hire.Its recommendation is that all hospitals, except small, rural ones that transfer most critical-care patients, have an intensivist, Slifer
"Having an intensivist will be a 'got-to- have' in the near future," he
day at 8 a.m. by attending to patients in both ICUs - cardiac and neurosurgical.He
then might pop in or be called to general medical floors for infectious-disease questions.
"I have been told I am only the 15th in the country ever to have combined subspecialties in infectious disease and critical-care medicine," said Slifer
recently completed a two-year, critical- care medicine fellowship at Mayo Clinic, then completed a two-year fellowship in infectious diseases at Creighton University Medical Center and the University of Nebraska
.Slifer earned his medical degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency at Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. Before becoming a physician, Slifer was a private pilot and flight instructor and air traffic control specialist with the Navy.
"I still like to fly," he
said."It's a great way to relax after leaving the hospital."
And, when he
is not caring for the sick or riding the clouds, he's
probably at home, pickin' on one of his
"I play the blues and country," Slifer
said."I play for pleasure." Slifer recently joined Pulmonary Specialist of Northwest Indiana, along with Charles Rebesco, M.D.; Raja Devanathan, M.D.; and Paul Gianaris, M.D.