July 3, 2020


Be proud of what intensivists
have done for our patients




The public image of intensive care, our patient care and daily team work, changed for good four months ago and have been followed and scrutinised throughout the world ever since. COVID-19 was the catalyst and has dominated our work. We are still fighting the virus, but what has been achieved during these exceptionally trying months is something we should all be proud of.

The world now knows more about our speciality, and with intensive care in the spotlight, we are using this recognition and visibility to our advantage. ESICM has strengthened its connections with EU Health, Education and Finance Ministers, as well as the European media and policy-makers at the European institutions. We are pushing hard for the free movement of intensivists to be able to work in all EU countries and for our speciality to be recognised throughout the EU.

Last month, the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella paid tribute to 57 individuals who have been instrumental in the battle against Coronavirus in Italy. Among these men and women was the President-Elect of ESICM, Prof. Maurizio Cecconi, who received the Chevalier of the Order of Merit for his services and also for warning the rest of the world in February to prepare for a “tsunami of Covid-19” and to increase ICU surge capacity.  Many of you may remember the “Get Ready!” message from Lombardy from Professors Cecconi, Grasselli and Pesenti that I sent to all our ESICM contacts, to help clinicians and governments around the World to prepare for COVID19.

Since the very beginning of the crisis, ESICM has not stopped providing COVID-19 resources and the replays of all our webinars can also be watched through this page. Webinars have proved to be an efficient means to reach out to our intensive care community far and wide, and have led to several research studies, surveys and collaboration across the world.

We also joined forces with the European Commission DG SANTE and the EU Covid-19 Clinicians Network for two live webinars. The first focused on intensive care medicine and ethics in the context of the pandemic and the second covered preparatory actions for a second wave.

Our collaboration with the Chinese Society of Critical Care Medicine (CSCCM) on a joint webinar about the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients was the first initiative of this kind, and one that I hope we can repeat.

325 centres have signed up for UNITE-COVID-19 – the one-day point prevalence observational study designed to discover more about the burden of the virus in ICUs across the world – and registration is still open if you wish to take part.

As a valued partner in the International Nursing Advanced Competency-based training for Intensive care (INACTIC), I am pleased to report the successful completion of this two-year project. As the only advanced nursing competency curriculum for intensive care spanning European countries, INACTIC has the potential to become an educational framework for ICU nurses across Europe in advanced practice nursing in ICU. ESICM will act as the central location for the provision of education for nurses at this level.

With restrictions on travel and the movement of health care workers still in place, and health and safety a priority, we have moved the dates of LIVES 2020 in Madrid to 5-9 December 2020. Many other organisations have done the same for their annual events, and we are carefully monitoring the situation in Madrid. We hope to bring you more information later on.

What I can already tell you is that we will be marking the achievements of a number of deserving individuals at the Opening Ceremony of the congress, including the recipient of this year’s Society Medal, Carole Boulanger. Carole is a consultant nurse and Advanced Critical Care Practitioner (ACCP) at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (UK), a former Chair of the ESICM Nursing & AHP Committee, and the first non-medical professional to be co-opted onto the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM) Board representing ACCPs nationally in the UK. Carole’s integration of nurses and allied health professionals in all aspects of the Society and her role as co-lead of the INACTIC project are just a few examples of the many projects she was responsible for.

We will also be honouring three scientists with life-long membership, and I look forward to personally congratulating internationally-recognised researcher and educator, Prof. Ruth Kleinpell (Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, USA); Dr Pascale Gruber (The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK) for her services to education and training; and Jeffrey Lipman (Professor and Head of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care at the University of Queensland, Australia), for his clinical research into infection management in intensive care.

Mark these dates in your calendar for an event of remarkable science and learning!

“Together we are intensive care” and I embrace all of you in this era of change.

 Jozef Kesecioglu, ESICM President



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