New ICU vital for neuro patients, officials say

Dr. William Friedman, chairman of neurosurgery, officially opens the Shands at UF Neuro Intensive Care Unit

A new, 30-bed Shands at UF Neuro Intensive Care Unit is a major step forward in care for patients with brain diseases or injuries, University of Florida and Shands HealthCare leaders said.

Part of a $9.6-million project to provide neurosurgery and neurology patients access to UF medical experts and the latest technological resources at Shands at UF, the Neuro-ICU officially opened on April 1.

“This is all about improved outcomes for patients,” said William Friedman, M.D., chairman of the neurosurgery department of the UF College of Medicine, who cut the ribbon to symbolize the opening along with Shands HealthCare CEO Tim Goldfarb and Bruce Kone, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine. “It’s appropriate that we are combining critical care expertise with primary care neurosurgery in one location. Plenty of technology to treat patients with brain disease were developed at the University of Florida, or tried here first, and now we are concentrating our neurosurgical activities in one location. I am very excited about that.”

Equipped with the latest technology, the physicians, surgeons, nurses and other members of the health-care team will be able to respond immediately to the slightest changes in patients’ conditions and quickly identify the most appropriate treatment plans.

“We’re pushing quality care and patient safety to the highest levels,” Kone said. “This is the beginning of iconic programs at the College of Medicine that emphasize outstanding care and the development of cures.”

The UF College of Medicine has one of the nation’s largest academic neurosurgery departments. This year the UF and Shands medical teams at Shands at UF will provide neurosurgical care to more than 5,000 patients from all over the world.

Goldfarb noted that the patient-care unit was literally only a few hundred feet from the university’s brain research labs.

“This is a great illustration of how proximity to the research bench, university classroom and patient care unit is unique to an academic health care center,” Goldfarb said. “We strive to develop cures and treatments in the laboratories, continual teaching and learning opportunities take place in the classroom, plus we have access to the patient’s bedside, where we can apply the newest techniques.”

Attending the opening were several officials from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, including Steven Brem, M.D., chief of Moffitt’s division of neuro-oncology. Moffitt Cancer Center, Shands HealthCare and UF announced in January that they are working together to develop world-class programs in cancer care, research and prevention.