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Critical Care at GBMC: Meet Your Leader, David Vitberg, MD

April 10, 2020
Known by many as the fearless superhero without a cape, Dr. David Vitberg provides care to the most severely ill patients at GBMC as the Director of the Division of Critical Care. He joined GBMC in 2014 and centralized critical care medicine with dedicated intensivists.

He has an impressive background. Graduating with the highest honors from medical school in 2001, Dr. Vitberg completed his residency with dual certification in Internal and Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland. After his final year as Chief Resident, he spent two years completing his Critical Care Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, creating an animal model for Anthrax toxicity and septic shock. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine, Emergency Medical Services and Critical Care.

David Vitberg, MD, Director of Medical and Surgical Critical Care
David Vitberg, MD, Director of Medical and Surgical Critical Care
At GBMC, Dr. Vitberg built an outstanding team of critical care physicians who manage the highest acuity patients alongside a multidisciplinary team led by Internal Medicine residents. He also oversees an educational program for the physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and internal medicine residents managing ICU patients.

He leads the Critical Care Committee, which oversees a Rapid Response Team and Code Blue Team, with a focus on collaborating with essential team members and utilizing GBMC’s state-of-the-art Simulation and Innovation Center to prepare for an array of complex clinical scenarios. He also developed a Quality Improvement Initiative for sepsis, and created protocols and algorithms to ensure the highest level of care, on par with any large medical system. Because of his foresight and interventions, the ICU has seen a decrease in patient length of stay, morbidity and mortality.

GBMC counts on Dr. Vitberg and his team to manage any COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure and/or any other medical co-morbidities.

In addition, Dr. Vitberg is also Associate Medical Director for the Baltimore County Fire Department. He has been involved with emergency medical services outside of the hospital since high school. He also writes chapters for medical textbooks and plays piano. His dedication to our institution and to our community is exemplary and makes him a role model for his three children and the GBMC community.

The ICU treats some of the sickest patients in the hospital, and they require round-the-clock care and critical interventions.

What makes one ICU different from another? Of course, top-notch physicians and nursing staff are required, along with the following:

1. It’s cutting-edge.
“At our roots, we never want to become a sleepy, community ICU. We don’t practice the way we did when we all finished our fellowship training. We pride ourselves in adopting the latest practices in evidence-based critical care medicine.”

2. It’s by design.
GBMC has two 12-bed ICUs. The compact design — four beds in each corner, forming a circle around a nursing station — is special, and conducive to the kind of high-touch, high-attention critical care that must happen in ICUs.

3. It’s about teamwork.
“I have an equal partner in my nurse manager. Without her being an equal partner, we couldn’t do anything. You see that reflected in the organization, between our chief nursing officer and our executives.”

4. It’s a family affair.
“Family ICU syndrome is a real thing. Concurrently with patients crashing, we have families crashing. Our approach, if a patient is not on isolation precautions, is to bring the entire ICU team into the room, to literally do rounds right at the bedside.”
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