Here is an interesting article from the Archives of Internal Medicine, sent to me by Marco D. Huesch, MBBS, PhD, of the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California. The article is by Henry Stelfox and others and is entitled "Intensive Care Unit Bed Availability and Outcomes for Hospitalized Patients With Sudden Clinical Deterioration."
Looking at a cohort of 3494 patients in Alberta, the study team investigated whether clinical outcomes varied depending on whether such patients were treated in the ICU versus the regular wards. In a nutshell, there was no difference in in-hospital mortality for these inpatients with sudden clinical deterioration, when they were effectively randomized (as a result of temporal variation in ICU capacity) to receive ICU referral or ward treatment.
I'd love to hear from you critical care folks out there.