The Floating Intensive Care Unit: Capabilities and Limitations

Gilbert Seda*, Guy Jensen, Heather A. Hernandez, Kimberly Gerber, Iliana Reyes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Critical care at sea is challenging with significant differences to critical care on shore. The capability and capacity of the maritime intensive care unit (ICU) varies based on the experience and training of the healthcare providers, the type and capabilities of the platform, and the inventory and ability to maintain adequate supplies and resources for critical care. Although it is an infrequent occurrence to have critically ill patients at sea, providers will have to alter their practice patterns to adapt to the limited equipment and resources available. Successful patient care also involves the immediate planning and coordination with medical and nonmedical personnel for the safe medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) of patients to the next level of care. This chapter provides an overview of three components of critical care at sea (staff, space, and supplies), discusses preparation for MEDEVAC, and briefly reviews recognition and management of potential critical care emergencies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExpeditionary Surgery at Sea
Subtitle of host publicationA Practical Approach
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783031218934
ISBN (Print)9783031218927
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Combatant ship
  • Critical care
  • Deployed hospital care
  • Hospital ship
  • Medical evacuation
  • Naval medicine
  • Preparation
  • Ships


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