No period in history has seen the development of such an effective armamentarium to prevent suffering and untimely death as has the past two decades. Drugs have become available to control most bacterial and fungal infections of the respiratory tract. Advances in bacteriology and cytology have improved diagnosis and made prompt specific treatment possible. Surgeons now repair cardiac abnormalities, both congenital and acquired, and bring about a return of the person's working capacity and essentially normal life expectancy. Anatomists have learned that pulmonary lobes are divided into individual segments, each of which can be removed as conditions warrant. Advances in anesthesiology have made the anesthetist the surgeon's most important ally. The chest specialist who did all diagnostic and therapeutic work alone no longer exists. Specialities have developed within specialties, which make team work necessary. Not all specialists are necessary in every case, but each one must be available on call.