Lauren Ferrante, MD, MHS, is a pulmonary and critical care specialist who cares for patients in the medical intensive care unit (MICU) at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH). She also attends to patients in the Winchester Chest Clinic Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program, where she cares for people who have lingering symptoms after COVID-19.
“It sounds cliché, but I became a doctor because I wanted to help people,” says Dr. Ferrante. In the MICU, that includes people with critical illnesses who are going through some of the toughest times in their lives. “In the MICU, we work to guide patients and families through those difficult times,” she says.
Both in the MICU and the post-COVID program, Dr. Ferrante notes that a comprehensive approach to the patient is important. Depending on their disease and symptoms, she may refer them to various specialists, who could include cardiologists, geriatricians, neurologists, otolaryngologists, or physical therapists. Particularly in the MICU, the goal for the doctor is to align care with the patient’s goals and treatment preferences, she says.
In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Ferrante is a researcher with an interest in understanding and improving the functional outcomes of older patients in intensive care units. A physician leader for the YNHH STEPS program, which helps seriously ill MICU patients maintain their mobility, Dr. Ferrante says this type of focus is changing care in a variety of ways. For example, a MICU doctor may focus less on sedation and more on helping the patient maintain strength and function, she says. “The field of critical care medicine used to be focused only on keeping people alive; now, we are also focused on preventing functional decline in the hospital and achieving functional recovery after discharge,” she says. “There has been a lot of interest in this area in the last decade.”