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Golden Anniversary of a Gold Standard

ICU AnniversaryLG

On September 26, 2008, Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (ACCM) helped to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a true milestone in medical care and in our own history—the creation of the multidisciplinary intensive care unit (ICU). Back in July of 1958, Anesthesiologist Peter Safar opened the first multidisciplinary ICU at Baltimore City Hospitals, now Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. At that time, medical technology was primitive compared to the computerized systems that exist today, but the true innovation of the ICU was the focus of nurses and doctors on treatment of the critically ill, which has hugely benefitted patient care and led to significant research and medical advances.

In the modern hospital, it is recognized that it is not the level of technology or a single individual that creates a high-performing ICU; rather, it is a highly collaborative relationship among all of the caregivers, including the nurses, physicians, nutritionists, respiratory therapists, and countless other specialists. According to Dr. Mitchell M. Levy, Medical Director of the Medical ICU at Rhode Island Hospital and Professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, “It is the culture of the ICU and the ability of the people within that team to communicate with each other that defines the basis of quality.”

During the day-long symposium that marked the golden anniversary, invited speakers addressed topics from the “History of Critical Care” to the “Future of Nursing Care.” Dr. Joseph E. Parrillo, Professor of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, presented the keynote lecture, entitled “Septic Shock: New Insights, New Therapies.” ACCM’s own Doctors Todd Dorman, Romer Geocadin, and John Ulatowski were among the key organizers of the event.