SCCM Mourns the Loss of Founding Member Dr. Shoemaker
The critical care community lost one of its great visionaries and founders this week. It is with deep sadness that I must inform you of the passing of William C. Shoemaker, MD, MCCM, at age 93.
Together with his wife, Norma, the Shoemakers were instrumental in founding the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), helping to start the organization from the ground up.
Dr. Shoemaker was a key voice in the effort to have critical care considered a specialized area of medicine, and was a staunch believer that optimal critical care should be delivered by a multidisciplinary team. He served as the third SCCM president, from 1973 to 1974.
One of Dr. Shoemaker’s most impressive undertakings was serving as the first editor of Critical Care Medicine. In 1972, with a subscription base of only 100 SCCM members, he was instrumental in working with a publisher to found the journal and solicit articles for the then bimonthly publication. He remained editor until 1991, by which time the journal was published monthly and was one of the most well-respected resources in the field.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, USA, Shoemaker graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School. After three years in the U.S. Navy, he completed his general surgical residency at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, followed by a fellowship in surgery and biochemistry at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
His career took him from Boston to Chicago, where he instituted and directed the trauma service at Cook County Hospital and was a professor of surgery at the University of Illinois. He then moved to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he was director of the Division of Surgical Metabolism and instituted and directed the multiprofessional intensive care unit, as well as the Shock and Trauma Service at Elmhurst Municipal Hospital. He eventually moved back to California to serve as a professor at the University of Southern California, and he retired in the state.
By the 1960s, Shoemaker had already established himself internationally as a leading force in the field of multidisciplinary critical care. He was a major contributor to advancements in the science of critical illness, including clinical research into hemodynamic abnormalities, from mechanism of injury to an organized approach to treatment. He researched the pathophysiology of trauma and the patient’s response to optimal treatment, initially trying to establish normal physiology in the hope of better outcomes.
Today, the robust state of critical care and of the Society is due in large part to the trailblazing efforts of Dr. Shoemaker and his wife. He will be dearly missed by friends and colleagues alike.
Todd Dorman, MD, FCCM
2016 SCCM President
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