Mitochondrial functions include production of energy, activation of programmed cell death, and a number of cell specific tasks, e.g., cell signaling, control of Ca2+ metabolism, and synthesis of a number of important biomolecules. As proper mitochondrial function is critical for normal performance and survival of cells, mitochondrial dysfunction often leads to pathological conditions resulting in various human diseases. Recently mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to multiple organ failure (MOF) often leading to the death of critical care patients. However, there are two main reasons why this insight did not generate an adequate resonance in clinical settings. First, most data regarding mitochondrial dysfunction in organs susceptible to failure in critical care diseases (liver, kidney, heart, lung, intestine, brain) were collected using animal models. Second, there is no clear therapeutic strategy how acquired mitochondrial dysfunction can be improved. Only the benefit of such therapies will confirm the critical role of mitochondrial dysfunction in clinical settings. Here we summarized data on mitochondrial dysfunction obtained in diverse experimental systems, which are related to conditions seen in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Particular attention is given to mechanisms that cause cell death and organ dysfunction and to prospective therapeutic strategies, directed to recover mitochondrial function. Collectively the data discussed in this review suggest that appropriate diagnosis and specific treatment of mitochondrial dysfunction in ICU patients may significantly improve the clinical outcome.