Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Assignment

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Assignment

Critical book review of “Bed Number Ten”

Bed Number Ten’ is a 293-page non-fictional book that was authored by Sue Baier and Mary Zimmeth Schomaker to recount the experiences of a patient (Sue Baier) in an intensive care unit (ICU). Offering a thought provoking and emotional perspective, the authors explore the intricacies of ICU as well as shortcomings of task-oriented health care. Through reading the book, readers are taken through a rollercoaster of emotions that exemplifies what can go wrong in the interactions between patients and medical personnel. Sue Baier suffered from Guillain-Barre syndrome that caused some of her basic functions to shut down, leaving her disabled, and for which she required ICU care. During the course of receiving care, she was unable to effectively communicate with the medical personnel. As a result, she was exposed to task oriented medical personnel who focused on providing medical care while ignoring her dignity, respect and other needs. Throughout the book, the authors explain how the mix between insensitive health care personnel and the patient’s inability to communicate are recipes for an unsatisfactory inpatient experience. Although the book content largely focuses on the failures of the inpatient care experience, there are some positive interactions that standout, particularly the cases when medical personnel used their intuition and sensitivity to deliver compassionate care that met the patient’s needs (Baier & Schomaker, 1995). As a result, the book is a personal account of a patient receiving ICU care in a task-oriented environment.Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Assignment


As a first-person account of a patient’s experiences with ICU care in a task-oriented environment, the book offers a self-descriptive explanation and interpretation of what compassionate and sensitive care implies. Through her disability and inability to communicate, Baier was turned into a silent observer denied the opportunity to express any opinion. She was left to observe and this had implications for her quality of life. Readers going through the book content are presented with an invaluable perspective and awareness of what patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions experience when they are unable to offer any input to their care approaches. As an adult who was previously independent, it is understandable that the disability and inability to communicate left Baier frustrated. However, readers cannot help but appreciate the fact that Baier remained noble through her anguish, suffering, and pain even as she suffered indignity that could have left her in despair. Instead of blaming others as expected of persons going through a similar experience, Baier comes off as appreciating the experience as an important learning point. In fact, she is neither whiny or complaining. Rather, she is noble and restrained with a focus on advancing the appreciation of the need for understanding, compassion, sensitivity, and communication in health care (Baier & Schomaker, 1995).

One must accept that the book content offers an objective appreciation of what constitutes the right health care approach. In addition, one must acknowledge that the book galvanizes readers to critically think about inpatient care and where to make improvements for the best experiences. To be more precise, the book is useful to three groups of people. The first group is medical personnel who are informed on how to provide care for the best patient experiences. The second group is patients who learn to appreciate the effort that medical personnel put into providing their care. The third group is family members who can better appreciate their advocacy role when representing patients unable to communicate. In this respect, the book is a patient’s critical analysis of task-oriented care with subtle suggestions on how to improve the care experience.


Baier, S. & Schomaker M. Z. (1995). Bed Number Ten. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Assignment