Wes Ely World-renowned critical care doctor, professor, and in-demand medical speaker

About the Author

In hospitals, universities, research centers, and medical organizations across the globe, Dr. E. Wesley Ely, MD, MPH, is a world-renowned critical care doctor and trusted leader in the field of ICU care. With more than 25 years of experience in intensive care medicine, over 500 peer-reviewed publications, as well as more than 50 published book chapters and editorials, Dr. Ely’s scientific findings have contributed to numerous globally-adopted protocols that improve the way healthcare is delivered for critically ill patients.

After earning his MD degree at Tulane University School of Medicine in conjunction with a Master of Public Health (MPH) at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Dr. Ely has been awarded membership to a number of organizations for leading medical professionals, including the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, American Geriatrics Society, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, and many more.

Currently, Dr. Ely is the Grant W. Liddle professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, as well as the founder and co-director of the Center for Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS Center) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His team at the CIBS Center has worked with tens of thousands of patients to answer vital questions about ICU-acquired brain disease and other components of ICU survivorship. While his focus was initially on aging and geriatric critical illness, his team has defined the importance of delirium and acquired dementia as major public health problems even among young ICU survivors.

Dr. Ely’s forthcoming book, Every Deep-Drawn Breath: A Critical Care Doctor on Healing, Recovery, and Transforming Medicine in the ICU (on sale September 7, 2021), offers a rich blend of science, history, moving patient stories, and personal reflection as he invites readers into the world of ICU care. Dr. Ely offers guidance and hope for ICU patients, their families, and the future of medicine, while also issuing a wake-up call for healthcare professionals—himself included—to turn their gaze from the latest life-saving machinery and really see the person in the patient. It is estimated that 40 to 60 million Americans will be admitted to the ICU over the next 10 years, and the average American can expect to have at least one ICU stay in their lifetime, underscoring the importance of Dr. Ely’s message. Accessible yet eloquent, refreshingly honest and reflective, Every Deep-Drawn Breath is an invaluable resource to anyone whose life will be touched by critical illness. Committed to the improvement of ICU care, Dr. Ely has partnered with a nonprofit fund to donate all his proceeds from this book to advance critical research, promote the widespread adoption of evidence-based practices, and help ICU survivors and their families.

As a leader and highly trusted resource in critical care medicine, Dr. Ely has been invited to speak at hundreds of universities, non-profits, hospitals, and conferences across the globe. His keynotes and lectures shed light on his own journey building a career in critical care, the specific research he has conducted on improving the care and outcomes of critically ill patients with ICU-acquired brain disease, and the overall importance of advancing ICU treatment within the medical field. Dr. Ely is also consistently sought after for interviews and features by major media outlets, including Atlantic Monthly, NBC, The Washington Post, Science, USA Today, NPR, CNN, PBS, Wall Street Journal, CBS, Reuters, and more, as well as countless medical journals.

Suggested Topics

  • Every Deep-Drawn Breath: A Critical Care Doctor on Healing, Recovery, and Transforming Medicine in the ICU
  • Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) Center
  • The Lasting Effects of Longterm ICU Stays
  • Healing and Recovery from Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS)
  • Examining PTSD and the Emotional Toll on Patients and Families
  • Examining PTSD and the Emotional Toll on Health Care Professionals 
  • Empathy and Dignity at the End-of-Life
  • Developing and Leading a Research Center to Reduce Human Suffering

In the Media


Books by Wes Ely

Every Deep-Drawn Breath

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