Working Life: Dr Carl Fagan, consultant in intensive care medicine, Beacon Hospital, Dublin

Dr Carl Fagan is a consultant in intensive care medicine at the Beacon Hospital, Dublin.


With three sons, Peter (18), Frank (14) and James (12) attending secondary school mornings are full-on.


My day begins with a handover from the night staff in the Beacon’s intensive care unit (ICU).

They brief us on overnight developments such as changes in a patient’s condition, or a new admission. Our patient’s in ICU have acute medical illnesses or are admitted following major surgery.

The body’s main systems — cardiac, respiratory, renal and neurological — may be challenged and we work to correct and support their recovery.

Patients are intensively managed with one-to-one nursing.


Following the handover, the morning round gets underway and we review and assess all patients clinically, as well as examining x-rays and laboratory results.

A considerable number of specialists are involved in ICU care — nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, dieticians, microbiologists. Teamwork is vital.


After a quick coffee, I return to the ICU to follow through on the goals I have set for each patient. I take one man, who is recovering, off life support. Another patient is being prepared for surgery. A patient who has made a good recovery after a long illness is finally getting discharged to the ward for further care.

I meet with the family of another patient to discuss how they are getting on and give them an update on whatever information we have.

In ICU we care for the sickest patients in the hospital, the majority of whom will make a full recovery, which makes it a rewarding specialty to practice in.


After a short lunch, I review a patient who has come into the Emergency Department with sepsis. I perform some minor surgical procedures in the ICU and then transfer another patient for CT scan. I catch up on paperwork and discharge letters for patients who have left the ICU.


After a final review of each patient, I head home about 7pm. I am not on-call tonight but one of our team of ICU consultants is on-call to the ICU each night.

Golf and cycling are my passions. I frequently cycle to work and when I can, I try and get to the driving range in the evenings or in the summertime may get out on the golf course for a few holes.

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