The Wall Street Journal - "Doctors Feel What It’s Like To Be In The ICU" - Sumathi Reddy

New York, NY
 – October 9, 2017  –– 

Shannon Yee, a playwright and producer experienced a coma, temporary paralysis of her left side and extensive rehabilitation after her experience with a rare brain infection that left her critically ill and in the hospital for nine weeks. In an audio-based artwork, Ms. Yee portrays her experience with the voices of doctors and nurses come in and out from far and near as her own thoughts cycle through. She and a team of four others researched and produced the artwork; it has been on tour since 2015 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada. The Mount Sinai rehabilitation department at the Mount Sinai Hospital is the first exhibition in the United States that Ms. Yee has brought her artwork. For two weeks, 160 employees, most from the rehabilitation department, have filtered into the room to experience what many of their patients do. Some participants said they were struck by how much Ms. Yee absorbed when unconscious, when medical staff assumed she couldn’t hear what they were saying. “We have to keep personalizing the patient,” said Steven Yung, MD, assistant professor of pediatric critical care medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who got to experience the artwork. Dr. Yung added that the artwork made him even more aware of how loud intensive care units can be. “I think we really need to work on what is constructive sound, what is therapeutic sound and what is not,” he said. Jaime Porter, an occupational therapist who works on the brain injury rehabilitation unit, said she was struck by how repetitive some of the questions were. Andrea Johnston, a senior occupational therapist at The Mount Sinai Hospital has helped facilitate some of the discussions of the artwork after each session. “I now have a visceral memory that I will carry with me,” she said in the discussion. “I will try to remember every time I pass that threshold into a patient’s room. I really, I feel it in me, I feel differently in the unit.”

- Steven Yung, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

- Andrea Johnston, Senior Occupational Therapist, Rehabilitation Medicine, The Mount Sinai Hospital

- Jaimie Porter, Occupational Therapist, Rehabilitation Medicine, The Mount Sinai Hospital

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