Critically ill patients experiencing a cytokine storm face a frightening and urgent threat. A dysregulated inflammatory response can cause multi-organ damage and in its most severe cases, death. Clinicians have long battled these consequences, but many of today's therapies and treatments have had little consistent effect. SeaStar Medical is changing that by investigating the use of a selective cytopheretic device to reduce the body's inflammatory response and heal.
This novel approach is driven by deep insight, science, and a first-hand understanding of how clinicians fight the consequences of inflammation. Matt Jacques, SeaStar Medical’s clinical account nurse manager, is a valued team member. Prior to joining the SeaStar Medical family, he was a critical care nurse in a 365-bed hospital with 30 intensive care unit (ICU) beds that is part of a large national system. Matt recently returned to work in the ICU to help relieve the growing demand for critical care clinicians resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Matt has seen first-hand what critical care doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists face every day treating patients with complex conditions including acute kidney injury (AKI), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and other insults. His observations are invaluable insights into helping us understand what may help ICU doctors and nurses save lives. He knows that it is important to be on the front line and be able to understand what nurses are experiencing, what solutions doctors are seeking, and the way the ICU is being run. His experience and the input from nurses and doctors have the potential to act as a real time focus group. It allows Matt to share important perspectives and suggestions as we develop our solutions.
Matt has completed almost three dozen shifts since February. He saw immediately the overwhelming “organized chaos” that was described to him. One of the biggest obstacles was the daily emotional toll the nurses felt. Taking care of critically ill patients is normally difficult, but the pandemic protocols added new complexity. Family members are not allowed in the hospital, so ICU nurses are often the only way for families to learn about how their loved one is faring. “Reaching out to families over the phone is something that we have always done, but it has new meaning during the pandemic,” said Jacques. “We have been in situations where we use a phone or tablet to help an alert patient on a BiPAP machine communicate with family. But then we may have to intubate the patient and we know that this could be the last time family members see their loved ones. It is heartbreaking.”
While working with SeaStar Medical, Matt has gained more perspective on complex ICU care and has changed how he cares for patients. He sees a connection between systemic inflammatory response, its consequences on organs and the patient's trajectory. This understanding has helped him became a better partner to the doctor as well as a better advocate for his patients.
Matt was called to the ICU to help support his critical care colleagues and he is bringing the voice of these clinicians to influence SeaStar Medical's direction of research and product development. We value his on-the-ground knowledge and experience as we continue to address needs of doctors and nurses fighting the consequences of the inflammation. His insight has been valuable as we continue to enroll critically ill patients in our SCD-005 study of AKI and ARDS patients with COVID-19 infections. We are proud of the work he is doing to help save lives.