The first hospital "special care areas" evolved in the 1930s for managing poliomyelitis victims. After World War II special nursing and monitoring units developed for postanesthetic recovery and coronary care. Rapid scientific and technological advances in the past 30 years have led to the presence of surgical and medical intensive care units (ICUs) in most hospitals.
This relocation of patients with critical care needs to common areas has been reported to be associated with improved patient care and survival.1-4 The reasons for such benefits include (1) advancements in medical technology for physiological monitoring; (2) improvements in the medical and surgical therapy of life-threatening disease; (3) availability of specially trained nurses and allied health personnel who, with concentrated exposure to such patients, have become highly proficient in their care; and (4) availability of physicians with special interest and training in the management of such patients.5-9
On Sept 19,