Mount Sinai staff experiences coma, ICU environment from patient's point of view

At least 160 medical personnel from New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System are among the first U.S. healthcare professionals to take part in an "audio-based artwork" to understand what it feels like to have a brain injury and be immobilized in a hospital's intensive care unit for weeks at a time, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The project, titled "Reassembled, Slightly Askew," was created by playwright and producer Shannon Yee. Ms. Yee told The Wall Street Journal the artwork is based on her experience of getting a sinus infection that caused a subdural empyema, or infection of the skull, when she was 30 years old. The illness caused her to go into a coma and temporary paralysis, and required extensive rehabilitation.

The project reportedly took five years to research and produce and has been on tour in the U.K., Ireland and Canada since 2015.

WSJ reporter Sumathi Reddy joined seven Mount Sinai staff to take part in the audio project last week at New York City-based Mount Sinai Hospital. For 48 minutes, the eight individuals experienced the sounds and sensations Ms. Yee heard and felt during the first 18 months of her injury while she was unconscious and as she underwent rehabilitation, including "the voices of doctors and nurses and her partner … the sounds of [Ms. Yee] getting washed by a nurse removing staples from her head ... [being] incessantly picked and prodded with needles and learning to walk again," the report states.

Some participants during the session attended by Ms. Reddy were surprised by how much information Ms. Yee absorbed while she was unconscious.

"Even though we have such good medicines and such good therapies to keep [patients] completely asleep, there's a lot happening … We're taught that and know that but to experience that is completely different," Steven Yung, MD, a pediatric critical care physician at Mount Sinai Hospital told The Wall Street Journal. "I think we [also] really need to work on what is constructive sound, what is therapeutic sound and what is not."

Mount Sinai was the first U.S. health system to participate in the project. Ms. Yee said she hopes to bring the production to other U.S. hospitals as well.

To read the full report, click here.

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