Critical Allies in the Battle for Recognition

On the road to specialty recognition, the pioneers of emergency medicine needed like-minded physician friends. An obvious hospital ally was critical care; though only about 5 percent of ED cases were bound for the ICU, they were some of the most dramatic patients. The ICU also needed a well trained and functioning ED to implement its agenda. Both houses also felt the pressure to distinguish their work from the eminent domain of surgeons. In 1970, not long after ACEP formed, 29 doctors focused on critical care met in Los Angeles and formed the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

By 1972 the Society had joined ACEP and the University Association for Emergency Medical Services in the Federation for Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, whose main purpose was to increase the visibility of the specialty agenda within the political arena of the American Medical Association. As it became clear that a single training track for emergency and critical care medicine was unlikely, the Federation quickly disappeared from sight, and was not a part of the battle for specialty recognition.

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