One of the major issues confronting the field of critical care medicine is its very existence as a medical subspecialty. Although the terms "critical" and "intensive" have been in use for many decades, the idea that critical care medicine should form the basis of a specific subspecialty for physicians in the four parent specialties of anesthesiology, internal medicine, pediatrics, or surgery was spawned only 15 years ago. Proponents of such a subspecialty point to the similarities in medical knowledge and intensive care unit (ICU) technology that a physician must master to provide optimal critical care. Opponents argue that knowledge of the underlying disease pathophysiology represents the most important educational base necessary to render optimal critical care.
Finding truth on both sides of the above argument, the American Board of Medical Specialties decided, in March 1985, to compromise and voted to approve the establishment of a critical care medicine subspecialty within
Parrillo JE. Critical Care Medicine. JAMA. 1985;254(16):2288–2290. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360160120029
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