Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Mastering Intensive Care

Nov 17, 2019

Climate change is a conversation we need to be having in Intensive Care circles.

Right now.

If the environmental catastrophe that is unfolding around us continues unabated there may no longer even be Intensive Care Units.

The rising global temperatures, the melting ice, the extreme weather events, and their impact on agricultural crops and human habitation may well lead to such a fall in the economy that our healthcare system may not have the financial resources it does now.

And given ICUs are the most expensive part of our hospitals, have a guess what might disappear first.

So who is there better to listen to about the climate crisis than British intensivist, Professor Hugh Montgomery, a deeply passionate and highly intelligent man, who was a founding member of the UK Climate and Health Council, and who has helped raise awareness about climate change for over 2 decades.

In this episode Hugh outlines some simple things you can do today to help fight climate change.

Hugh is a Professor and the Director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London. He obtained a 1st class degree in cardiorespiratory physiology and neuropharmacology before graduating from the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in 1987. He has since obtained specialist accreditation in Cardiology, General Internal Medicine and Intensive Care medicine, and practices as a Consultant Intensivist in North London in the UK. Hugh obtained his MD(Res) in 1997, is known for his pioneering genetic research, and has published over 450 peer reviewed papers, three in Nature. Hugh is also an author of children's books, and most recently of the medical thriller ‘Control’.

Hugh has a such diverse array of interests and expertise that it’s hard to understand how he fits it all in. He has presented on television shows, climbed tall Himalayan mountains, run ultra-marathons, jumped naked from a plane at 14,000 feet, holds the world record for underwater piano playing, and also consults as a medical expert on Artificial Intelligence. Despite all of this, he continues to work as a clinical intensivist, publishes in the medical literature about important critical care topics, and is working to raise patient awareness about their end of life wishes.

To me this is one of the most important Mastering Intensive Care episodes so far, as in a wide-ranging conversation Hugh talks about:

  • How he became interested in physiology and then intensive care
  • The intensivists that shaped his career
  • Climate change and why we all need to care
  • What actions we can take today as Intensive Care professionals to help the environment
  • His own views on diet, renewable energy and international flights
  • Some perspectives on the ICU ward round
  • The importance of relationships and building connection with patients in clinical medicine
  • How his father’s experience in hospital informed Hugh
  • How “wisdom of the crowd” assists in making diagnoses
  • Dealing with uncertainty at the bedside
  • The importance of speaking to patients about end of life before they are admitted to the ICU
  • How he speaks to families of the dying
  • An end of life project he and his colleagues are working on
  • Why he researches what he does
  • Some tips for public speaking
  • How the emergence of artificial intelligence might play out in healthcare
  • Why we need to be engaged with Big Tech
  • His own attitudes and practice of self-care and self development
  • His non-medical writing, including his new medical thriller book “Control”

I can not recommend more highly that you settle in and listen to this amazing man, Professor Hugh Montgomery.

Andrew Davies



About the Mastering Intensive Care podcast: The podcast is aimed to inspire and empower you to bring your best self to the intensive care unit, through conversations with thought-provoking guests. The hope is you’ll glean insights to move you closer towards being the best and most human healthcare professionals you can be, so you can make the most valuable contribution to your patient’s lives.



Links related to Hugh Montgomery

Hugh Montgomery at UCL

Hugh Montgomery at Whittington Hospital

Hugh Montgomery at ISEH

Hugh Montgomery profile

Hugh Montgomery on Twitter

PubMed search for Hugh Montgomery

Book “Control” (by Hugh Montgomery)

Book “Control” (by Hugh Montgomery)

Book “Control” (by Hugh Montgomery)

Book “Cloudsailors” (by Hugh Montgomery)

Book “Voyage of The Arctic Tern” (by Hugh Montgomery)

Review of “Control” (by Hugh Montgomery)

Article 1 about “Control” (by Hugh Montgomery)

Article 2 about “Control” (by Hugh Montgomery)

Interview of Hugh Montgomery on Desert Island Discs

Interview of Hugh Montgomery on BBC

Press article 1 featuring Hugh Montgomery

Press article 2 featuring Hugh Montgomery

Press article 3 featuring Hugh Montgomery

Press article 4 featuring Hugh Montgomery


Links to people, organisations and other resources as mentioned in order throughout podcast

Physiologist Eric Neil

Samson Wright’s Applied Physiology 13th edition

Hammersmith Hospital

Article discussing Ron Bradley

Gillian Hanson

Information about Hugh Montgomery’s 2019 talk at SMACC (video not released)

Lancet Commissions 2009: “Managing the health effects of climate change: Lancet and University College London Institute for Global Health Commission”

Lancet Commissions 2015: “Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health”

Lancet Countdown 2017: "The Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change"

Lancet Countdown 2018: "The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health"

Lancet Countdown 2018: "The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: shaping the health of nations for centuries to come"

Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change

Lancet on “Health and Climate Change”

Lancet Infographic on “Climate Change and Health”

Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society

Book “Eat & Run” (by Scott Jurek)

Nature paper on microbiome and elite athletes

Carbon Footprint Calculator


Oli Flower

Roger Harris

CODA change

Trillion Trees

Trillion Trees Australia

Whittington Hospital ITU/Critical Care

University College Hospital London

Andy Webb

Reading Hospital

YouTube search for Hugh Montgomery

Moore’s law

Deep Neural Networks

Nature Medicine paper co-authored by Hugh Montgomery “Clinically applicable deep learning for diagnosis and referral in retinal disease.”

Nature paper co-authored by Hugh Montgomery “A clinically applicable approach to continuous prediction of future acute kidney injury.”

Google Health

Particle physics

New Normal Project podcast

New Normal Project podcast - Episode 45 with Neal Barnard

New Normal Project podcast - Episode 48 with Caldwell Esselstyn

New Normal Project podcast - Episode 38 with Michael Klaper

New Normal Project podcast - Episode 43 with Kim Williams

New Normal Project podcast - Episode 49 with Scott Stoll

New Normal Project podcast - Episode 51 with Alan Desmond

“2040” Movie

CODA 2020

Mastering Intensive Care podcast - Episode 48 with Laura Rock


Links related to Mastering Intensive Care podcast

Mastering Intensive Care podcast

Mastering Intensive Care page on Facebook

Mastering Intensive Care at Life In The Fast Lane

Andrew Davies on Twitter: @andrewdavies66

Andrew Davies on Instagram: @andrewdavies66

Email Andrew Davies

Audio Producer Chris Burke