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Editorial |

Caring for the Critically Ill Patient:  Challenges and Opportunities

Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2007;298(4):456-458. doi:10.1001/jama.298.4.456.
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For a quarter century, JAMA has served as a venue for articles relating to care of critically ill patients, beginning with the Concepts in Emergency and Critical Care section, in which these fields were initially described as “spanking new medical disciplines.”1 At the time, knowledge of the biology of critical illness was rudimentary, the focus was on initial patient care, such as airway management and resuscitation, and the few physicians trained in emergency or critical care medicine worked mainly in large teaching hospitals. During the following years, critical care and emergency medicine grew rapidly, training and accreditation became more standardized, and the focus changed to the definition, management, and outcome of postresuscitation syndromes, such as sepsis, shock, and organ dysfunction. Approximately 10 years ago, the section name was changed to Caring for the Critically Ill Patient, ushering in increased focus on high-quality multicenter randomized trials, organization and delivery of care, and attention to patient-centered outcomes.2

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