By the middle of the last century, new therapeutic
modalities in both medicine and surgery allowed patients who would have
otherwise died to survive their diseases. These patients often needed
more intense care than that provided on the wards of hospitals. In
various medical centers, specialized units opened to care for these
critically ill patients. The close monitoring of physiologic variables
was possible with advances in technology, and the ratio of nurses to
patients was increased. Critical care medicine was born.