General Content

Working in the first Intensive Care Unit

Mary Anne Murphy Palermo
Nursing graduate, employee (1957-1963) 

After graduation in 1960, I worked in the ICU, the 1st one in the city, as I recall. It was very primitive by today's standards: 2 rooms, 546 , a 2 bed room, & 548, a 4 bed room, were outfitted with extra equipment, the bathroom in between served as the nurses' station.
There were no cardiac monitors, but there was a blood pressure cuff at each bed & a crash cart in the room. With a high nurse-patient ratio, I felt I could give good nursing care. As a student, I also remember taking care of some of the 1st kidney dialysis patients. Dr. Tony Talamus was experimenting with a huge dialysis machine, like a big tub with many tubes & fluids.
Several doctors & nurses were required for the procedure, & only 1 patient could be cared for at a time. Patients were critically ill & often died soon afterwards. It was a far cry from the streamlined procedure today when some pts. can be dialyzed for years and even at home.