In Practice: John Zurasky, M.D.

As part of an ongoing series, Providence profiles John Zurasky, M.D., stroke neurologist and neurointensivist with Providence Brain and Spine Institute.

Past lives
Medical director of Intermountain Healthcare stroke program; neurologic intensive care/stroke fellow at Washington University in St. Louis; economics major at Harvard University; teacher in Japan; stockbroker in San Francisco.

What is neurointensive care?
A neurointensivist-led care model helps to standardize care processes for patients with complex neurologic trauma. Initially, this subspecialty was found only in academic centers, but as improved outcomes were documented, the model has moved into advanced medical centers.

Under a neuro-ICU model, who is the final authority?
It’s a collaboration involving our partner neurosurgeons, other consulting physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other staff.

The surgeons make the final surgical decisions. Otherwise, the neurointensivist is trained to balance the patient’s cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic needs to optimize the neurologic outcome. We make the final decisions, but only with the help of our colleagues at all levels.

Why did you choose this specialty?
Neurology is fascinating, and the field is in an innovative phase that’s exciting to be a part of.

You were a teacher, then a stockbroker. What drew you to medicine?
I wanted life to mean a little more at the end of every day.

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