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Ake Grenvik, MD, PhD, MCCM, a founding member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and one of the earliest pioneers of critical care, died on September 5, 2021. He was 92.
He will be remembered as a visionary. “Ake was instrumental in establishing how critical care medicine is taught, how intensive care professionals work together, and how patients are treated today in intensive care units around the world,” said SCCM President Greg S. Martin, MD, MSc, FCCM.
A native of Sweden, Dr. Grenvik graduated from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Following residencies in general and cardiothoracic surgery in Sweden, he spent three years in clinical research studying the effects of mechanical ventilation on respiration, circulation, and metabolism, which led to a doctorate degree at Uppsala University in 1966. He then came to the United States to train in anesthesiology and critical care medicine. He became professor of anesthesiology, founding and heading the Division of Critical Care at the University of Pittsburgh and working with SCCM founder Peter Safar, MD, MCCM. He remained a leading faculty member and mentor at the University of Pittsburgh until he retired in 2011. He was beloved by colleagues and students there.
In February 1970, Ake was an anesthesiologist working at the University of Pittsburgh when he joined about 30 other physicians in Los Angeles “to combine thoughts, plans, and experiences which would help bring order to the new field of ‘critical care medicine.’” That meeting laid the groundwork for what would become the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and Dr. Grenvik remained dedicated throughout his life to the organization’s mission and vision.
In that same year, Drs. Grenvik and Safar helped draft the first guidelines for critical care units. At the time, such standards were not common; physician practice was viewed as sovereign and sacred, and unlikely to be “guided.” The idea of a multiprofessional, multidisciplinary approach to care, guided by standards, was a novel approach led by visionaries such as Dr. Grenvik.
“For all his accomplishments as a legend and giant in the field, Ake will be remembered for his pioneering vision to rigorously train the entire professional critical care team to work together and deliver the highest-quality, humanistic, and patient- and family-centered care,” said Dr. Martin.
Posted: 9/9/2021 | 13 comments
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