History of British Intensive Care, c. 1950-c. 2000

History of British Intensive Care, c. 1950-c. 2000

Intensive care developed in the UK as a medical specialty as the result of some extraordinary circumstances and the involvement of some extraordinary people. In 1952, the polio epidemic in Copenhagen demonstrated that tracheostomy with intermittent positive pressure ventilation saved lives. Those infected with tetanus (common in agricultural areas) soon benefited and the delivery of care built upon the development in war-time shock tents of triage, monitoring, transfusion and teamwork. At the same time a number of different specialists, including respiratory physiologists, anaesthetists and commercial manufacturers of respiratory equipment improved the possibilities of emergency treatment. These advances were rapidly extended to the care of post-operative patients, particularly with developments in cardiac surgery. At St Thomas' Hospital, London, Ron Bradley devised a mobile trolley of diagnostic equipment that was moved around the hospital as a rapid response unit; dedicated units appeared in the early 1960s in Cambridge, London and Liverpool; and later specialist care units were created for prenatal, cardiac and dialysis patients, bolstered by specific Department of Health building guidelines. The importance of specialist nursing care led to the development of nurse training, education and the eventual appointment of nurse consultants in the NHS in 1999. The specialty of intensive care was granted Faculty status by the General Medical Council in 2010. Introduced by Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, this transcript includes, inter alia, the development of cardiac catheters, monitoring equipment, data collection techniques and the rise of multidisciplinarity, national audit, and scoring systems. The participants include: Ms Sheila Adam, Dr Aileen Adams, Ms Pat Ashworth, Dr Carol Ball, Professor Julian Bion, Professor Ronald Bradley, Dr Margaret Branthwaite, Dr Doreen Browne, Dr Tony Gilbertson, Mr Graham Haynes, Professor Peter Hutton (chair), Professor Iain Ledingham, Ms Alice Nicholls, Professor Mervyn Singer, Dr Brian Slawson, Dr Geoffrey Spencer, Dr Joseph Stoddart, Professor Leo Strunin, Professor Sir Keith Sykes, Dr David Wright.

Introduction by Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, 188pp, 5 appendices, 16 figures, 1 table, biographical notes, references and index.

Reynolds L A, Tansey E M. (eds) (2011) History of British Intensive Care, c. 1950–c. 2000. Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine, volume 42. London: School of History, Queen Mary, University of London.

ISBN: 978 0902238756