Dustin C Krutsinger, MD


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Willing to mentor students

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Personal profile

Personal profile

My career goal is to become an independent clinical investigator with a focus on understanding how surrogate decision makers (SDMs) of critically ill patients make decisions, the impact of those decisions, and how to reduce the psychological morbidity experienced by SDMs. I started my career as an ICU nurse in 2003 and have been working in the ICU ever since. Through this experience I have observed family members struggle to make difficult decisions under stressful circumstances from the perspective of both a nurse and physician. I have found that SDM are more than bystanders in the ICU. They are often tasked with making difficult decisions on behalf of incapacitated patients, ranging from consenting to procedures, research participation, and when to limit life sustaining treatment. Many SDMs suffer from post-intensive care syndrome-family (PICS-F) following a patient’s stay in the ICU. SDMs struggle with making decisions on behalf of patients in the ICU, which may be responsible for the high prevalence of psychological morbidity among SDMs of critically ill patients. My short-term research goals are to evaluate the impact acute stress experienced by surrogate decision makers of critically ill patients has on their ability to make informed decisions. My ultimate goal is to develop, test and implement decisional aids that ease the decision-making burden faced by SDMs. 


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