1965 Report Calls for Increased Emphasis on Emergency Care

Trauma surgeons played a special role in emergency medicine; the American College of Surgeons established a Committee on Trauma in 1922. In 1955 Robert H. Kennedy, M.D.—"the king of trauma"—called emergency room care "the weakest link in the chain of hospital care in most hospitals in this country...." His pithy diagnosis helped focus the rapid development of EDs in the coming years.

In 1966 the National Academy of Sciences released Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society, which noted that in 1965 accidental injuries killed 107,000. "The general public is insensitive to the magnitude of the problem," the report claimed, and its recommendations included "development of a mechanism for inspection, categorization, and accreditation of emergency rooms on a continuing basis."

Meanwhile Kennedy was studying ambulance services and collaborating on several important booklets for public safety professionals: Standards for Emergency Ambulance Services and the 128-page pocket manual Emergency Care of the Sick and Injured. In 1969, at the age of 82, he addressed an organizational meeting of ACEP, passing the torch for emergency care to a new generation.

Next week: ACEP is Born 

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