SCCM Mourns the Loss of Founding Member Dr. Shoemaker

Dr. ShoemakerThe 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

Leave a kind note, share a memory or offer your condolences here.

65 Responses

  1. Ella Ferraro

    March 18th, 2016 at 1:25 pm


    Extremely saddened to hear the news. My deepest condolences to the family.

  2. John B. Downs

    March 18th, 2016 at 1:59 pm


    He was a great and gentle man.

  3. Peter R Holbrook

    March 18th, 2016 at 2:00 pm


    The world is a lesser place today. Will Shoemaker was a giant physically and intellectually, but a gentle giant. He towered over many of the towering figures who composed the early leaders in critical care. His thought was clear, his recognition of the need for surgeons to participate in this multidisciplinary effort was ahead of his time, and his ego was way behind his achievements. I used to tell him he was a child trapped in an adult’s body. He loved it. We will all miss him.

  4. Dr. Dharmapuri Vidyasagar

    March 18th, 2016 at 2:02 pm


    Indeed it saddens us to know the demise of Dr.Sheomaker.
    He was a great man not only in professional excellence but as a humanist so rare in todays atmosphere.

    I had the great pleasure of knowing and working with. He was in fact responsible for me to become a member of SCCM as one of the few pediatricians/neonatologists.

    Later I enjoyed his mentorship and friendship.

    In his demise the SCCM has lost one of it giant.
    We pray for his soul to find a restful place in God’s abode.


    March 18th, 2016 at 5:10 pm


    As a young doctor in critical care as me, I am sorry to hear the loss of the master.


    March 18th, 2016 at 5:28 pm


    God bless for his great effort

  7. Natalja Litvinova

    March 18th, 2016 at 5:38 pm


    My sincere condolescences. Let his sole to be in peace.
    It is a pity when good doctors leave this world.

  8. Miguel

    March 18th, 2016 at 5:43 pm


    Condolences to the family and friends.
    Rest in peace to a great teacher and healer.

  9. Kathleen Kelly

    March 18th, 2016 at 5:49 pm


    My sincere sympathy on your loss. Although such a personal loss, your husband and yourself leave a rich legacy to the critical care comunity. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

  10. Timothy G. Buchman

    March 18th, 2016 at 5:53 pm


    A personal loss, a loss for our journal, a loss for our society, a loss for critically ill patients worldwide. We stand on the shoulders of giants, Will Shoemaker was surely one of them.

  11. Edward Truemper, MS, MD

    March 18th, 2016 at 6:03 pm


    To all,

    This is truly a great loss. He was such a kind and wonderful man who shared his thoughts on the management of patients with the management of shock and was a true game changer in our thinking of balancing oxygen metabolism and delivery. His studies published in the later 1970s and early 1980s showed a logical progression of thought and solution to seemingly unanswerable problems in the management of shock from sepsis, post-surgical or trauma. Studies today that shaped a generation of critical care physicians in their approach to coordinated assessment of critically ill patients and the courage to tackle complex medical problems.
    I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife Norma at a SCCM-pharmaceutical company sponsored meeting for fellows in the late 1980s. At the dinner we were grouped at the same table. it did not matter that I was a junior pediatric critical care fellow. He treated me as an equal and offered numerous insights into having a productive career. Words that I took to heart. In the early part of my career as a junior faculty member, from time to time, he would call me and ask how I was doing and offered words of encouragement and insights how to solve problems. Later he wrote a letter of support for my first (and successfully funded) grant.
    No doubt there are many, many people who worked with him very closely who will have more stirring words about his accomplishments and generosity. These are my few comments to add to the avalanche that will surely come on this website.
    I can imagine as he entered heaven, he turned to Peter and said “Tell me where the ICU is, I still have work to do”

  12. Keith Stein MD

    March 18th, 2016 at 6:09 pm


    All of us owe him a debt of deep gratitude- for helping to establish our profession and for exemplifying the caring intensivist. Condolences and wishes for peace for his family.,

  13. Anonymous

    March 18th, 2016 at 6:17 pm


    Thank you Dr. Shoemaker for the overall impact you made to the Critical Care community. My condolence to his family.

  14. Ronald

    March 18th, 2016 at 6:21 pm


    Rest in peace Dr Shoemaker and condolences to his family
    Great Doctor
    Great teacher
    Great Human

  15. Gloria

    March 18th, 2016 at 6:32 pm


    My condolences to his family. We shall remeber his legacy and be forever in debt

  16. Matthew Martin, MD, FACS

    March 18th, 2016 at 6:37 pm


    The world of critical care has lost a true legend, mentor, and friend. I was honored to get to meet and work with Dr. Shoemaker during fellowship at USC. Despite his age, he was still working tirelessly on numerous research projects and developing cutting-edge noninvasive monitoring technology. It would not be uncommon to be on call and going to see a patient at 2 am, and to run into Dr. Shoemaker in the hallway – pushing his cart of research equipment to another patient’s bedside.

    Saddened to hear about his passing today – but he will truly never be forgotten.

  17. Emanuel Rivers

    March 18th, 2016 at 7:23 pm


    A mentor, an idol, a friend, a brilliant clinician and scientist who is blessed with a wonderful wife. You have touched everyone through your work and saved many lives in the process. You will live forever because of all you have done.
    Job well done. I can see you resuscitating in heaven.

  18. Arif Alam, MD

    March 18th, 2016 at 7:32 pm


    Thank you for a life lived fully and for touching so many others. God bless.

  19. Muhammad Jaffar

    March 18th, 2016 at 7:44 pm


    Your teachings and legacy will continue to improve the life of many generations to come. Thanks a lot for your dedication to mankind

  20. Jorge Hidalgo

    March 18th, 2016 at 8:24 pm


    Definitely some one how always be in our memories, and great leader, great physician and great human being. my condolences tu his family.

  21. Mohammad H Zaman MD

    March 18th, 2016 at 8:35 pm


    My sincerest condolence to the family . He was great teacher, scientist and pioneer in the fold of critical. I remember him from the earlier days of critical when we used to rush to listen to his lectures

  22. Manoj Singh

    March 18th, 2016 at 8:37 pm


    The critical care community has lost a great teacher, clinician and a leader..
    May his soul rest in peace.

  23. Anonymous

    March 18th, 2016 at 8:45 pm


    Dr Shoemaker was a physician scientist which great vision.
    He not only laid the foundation for our clinical understanding of the underlying physiology of early shock but was a visionary stepping up to save the life’s of his critical ill patients and millions of others which benefited from his research. He will be missed by the critical care family.

    Rest in peace Dr Shoemaker, we will continue our best to fulfill your vision of better care for critically ill patients

  24. Pradip Bhattacharya

    March 18th, 2016 at 8:47 pm


    I am deeply saddened by the news of William C. Shoemaker passing. My thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Shoemaker and his family. It is a great loss to the Entire Critical Care community.

  25. Ngadi Benedict Odinaka MD

    March 18th, 2016 at 8:49 pm


    Dr Shoemaker ignited a light in the SCCM that will burn eternally. though he is no longer with us, will live always in our hearts and the legacy he left behind. May his Soul rest in peace

  26. Rafael

    March 18th, 2016 at 9:38 pm


    My deepest condolences to the family.
    From Nicaragua.

  27. Fred Rincon

    March 18th, 2016 at 9:41 pm


    Dr. Shoemaker has departed from this earth but will never truly leave, for he is still alive in our hearts and minds as a legendary visionary. Through us, his SCCM family, he will live on. Please accept my condolences and be confident that he will not be forgotten.

  28. Oscar Rosaldo

    March 18th, 2016 at 10:04 pm


    A sincere sympathy to Dr. S’ family members, and to all of us that follow your teachings…there is no better way to preserve your memory.

  29. Francis Ntimba MD FCCP

    March 18th, 2016 at 10:13 pm


    My condolences to the family. Dr. Shoemaker has contributed greatly to the field of critical care medicine. May his soul rest in eternal peace

  30. Chayanin Musikasinthorn, MD FACS

    March 18th, 2016 at 11:23 pm


    My condolences to his immediate family and the entire critical care community. He is one of the masters of shock trauma, sepsis and critical care management. He will surely be missed.

  31. Arnulfo Lopez Pulgarín MD FCCP

    March 19th, 2016 at 12:23 am


    A great man, my inspiration to be intensivist. Rest in peace.

  32. Yaseen Arabi

    March 19th, 2016 at 1:20 am


    My condolences to his family and to critical care community. This is big loss of a role model and a founder of critical care speciality.

  33. Aashish Neupane

    March 19th, 2016 at 2:00 am


    RIP Dr Shoemaker. You will be terribly missed.

  34. Kenneth Tan

    March 19th, 2016 at 3:07 am


    He was my inspiration to take up critical care medicine.

  35. Baseem Daoud

    March 19th, 2016 at 3:18 am


    My sincere condolences to the Shoemaker family for their loss, and more so to the critical care community worldwide for the loss of a scientist and a teacher.

  36. Denny Van Acker

    March 19th, 2016 at 3:31 am



    my sincere sympathy on your loss, great man hs passed away

  37. Steve Seekins

    March 19th, 2016 at 8:52 am


    Will Shoemaker was a giant and not just within the critical care community but throughout medicine. Expertise, vision and leadership are a wonderful combination and he shared them all with so many.

  38. Jose Portugal

    March 19th, 2016 at 10:32 am


    La Sociedad Peruana de Medicina Intensiva (SOPEMI) recibió la visita del Dr. Shoemaker en varias oportunidades donde nos enseño el manejo hemodinamico del paciente crítico, mostrandonos su grandes cualidades de maestro y ofrciendonos su amistad a los médicos peruanos.
    Es para SOPEMI una profunda pena su fallecimiento y ofrecemos nuestras condolencias a su familia y la SCCM.
    Jose Portugal
    Presidente SOPEMI

  39. Rosalyn R Resichman

    March 19th, 2016 at 10:53 am


    Although I did not know Dr. Shoemaker personally, his writings were my guide as a practitioner and teacher throughout most of my career. He was an academic giant and will be missed! His memory will not be forgotten in the world of Critical Care.

  40. Carolyn Holder APRN, Clinical Nurse Specialist

    March 19th, 2016 at 11:02 am


    Dr. Shoemaker was a true visionary and we appreciate his many contributions to the interprofessional team concept. He has dedicated his career to improve quality of care to critically ill patients and I am grateful for his leadership. Thank you Norma for sharing your husband with the world of critical care.

  41. David F Demick MD

    March 19th, 2016 at 11:58 am


    Sincere condolences to the family of this great Physician Leader and Patriot.

  42. Anthony O. Udekwu

    March 19th, 2016 at 12:40 pm


    Great man
    Great loss
    So many tremendous contributions
    My condolences

  43. Jesús Villar

    March 19th, 2016 at 2:06 pm


    My deepest condolences to his personal family, to his SCMM family and to his close friends that were part of the team who created CCM as a specialty! I first met Dr. Shoemaker in 1978 when I was 1st Year Resident in Critical Care Medicine in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. My first impression that I had of him is the same that I have right now: he was a giant physically (he was a very tall man, I am short!) and a giant intelectually. R.I.P.

  44. Rich Berkowitz, MD, FAAP

    March 19th, 2016 at 3:13 pm


    A great loss to our profession. We can only hope that he realized what a major influence he is on any of us who practice in critical care, anesthesia and surgery. His impact is immeasurable. He will be missed.

  45. Samantha Gambles Farr

    March 19th, 2016 at 3:14 pm


    My prayers and condolences to the family and his close personal friends.
    A great loss for their family and healthcare.

  46. Richard Prager MD FCCP FCCM

    March 19th, 2016 at 9:56 pm


    A geat teacher , physician, leader, researcher
    A person that will be greatly missed and will be
    remembered by all!

  47. Ozan Akca

    March 20th, 2016 at 10:31 am


    Dr. Shoemaker’s work has been one of the greatest inspirations in my academic career. More importantly, he was one of the main reasons behind my interest in being an intensivist.
    My deepest condolences to his family and to the whole SCCM community.

  48. D Tim Crowe, DVM, DACVS, DACVECC, FCCM

    March 20th, 2016 at 6:56 pm


    Dr Shoemaker was so instrumental in advancing critical around the world. He and his wife Norma were also so helpful in his encouraging us in veterinary critical care. In the 1980s our society of veterinary emergency and critical care was aspiring to develop a speciality in which we would start residency training and research in veterinary critical care and it was Bill who championed this cause. He came to our Veterinary Emergency and Criticsl Care Symposium and presented topics on shock resuscitation that I and my collegues will never forget. He helped us develop our specialty and He later became my sponsor into the American College of Critical Care Medicine. He was a giant, a friend, and I will miss him so much. My heart goes out to you Norma and all of your family. May God bless and comfort you. Tim

  49. Jean E. Szorady DNP, AGACNP-C,

    March 21st, 2016 at 7:40 am


    My deepest condolences to Mrs Shoemaker and family. Dr Shoemaker was one of the original pioneers of shock in trauma medicine. His contributions to critical care medicine are immeasurable. Thank you, Mrs Shoemaker for all that you and Dr Shoemaker have done for this world.

  50. Anne M. Bennett DNP, APRN, FCCM

    March 21st, 2016 at 7:55 am


    What a stunning and monumental legacy Dr. Shoemaker has left the world of Critical Care Medicine….
    Condolences to his family.

  51. Barbara McLean

    March 21st, 2016 at 8:33 am


    As everyone has mentioned, Dr. and Norma Shoemaker changed the practice and delivery of critical care in more ways than we can say.

    In 1985, Dr.Shoemaker came to our hospital at the invitation of Dr. David Feliciano. I was a critical care trauma nurse at that time, and had read everything I could get my hands on regarding tissue oxygenation and blood flow. When Dr. Shoemaker entered the unit and was introduced on rounds, I, for one of the few times in my life, was speechless and in awe. He of course did not disappoint: His clarity, vision, mentorship and kind concern for the patients, staff and young doctors in training, spoke to his character as much as his sentinel work. Thank you Dr. Shoemaker for guiding us to a higher purpose. You will be missed!

    Norma, our prayers and tears are with you and your family.

  52. Gonzalo Garcia Guerra

    March 21st, 2016 at 1:00 pm


    His family should be proud of his amazing legacy.


  53. Sandy Hanneman

    March 21st, 2016 at 4:09 pm


    Good man, good wife, good life. Shoe and Norma have influenced generations of clinicians and researchers through their expansive intellect, vision, and hearts. Thank you to both of them. I join the family in celebrating Dr. Shoe’s earthly life and contributions.

  54. Consuelo Yokum, MSN, CCNS

    March 22nd, 2016 at 1:10 pm


    Dr. Shoemaker and Norma are the leaders on whose shoulders we stand. All of our work and progress in critical care has come from the myriad knowledge and experience that they contributed to the SCCM members that followed them. Thank you so much and my condolences to your family and friends. You have left a beautiful legacy.

  55. Stephen M. Pastores, MD, FCCM

    March 23rd, 2016 at 3:48 pm


    Sad to hear. Dr Shoemaker was truly a giant in our field.

  56. Michael Reed, PharmD

    March 23rd, 2016 at 3:49 pm


    Dr. Shoemaker was a true leader.

  57. Joseph Carcillo, MD

    March 23rd, 2016 at 3:50 pm


    He was a great man!

  58. Paolo Biban, MD

    March 23rd, 2016 at 3:51 pm


    Such sad news. Dr. Shoemaker has been an exceptional inspiring person for many people.

  59. Giuseppe Marraro, MD

    March 23rd, 2016 at 3:52 pm


    I participate with great commotion to the passed day of Dr. W.C. Shoemaker. To the family my sincere condolences because we lost a great man and a great scientist.

  60. Jos Latour, PhD, RN

    March 23rd, 2016 at 3:53 pm


    Dr. Shoemaker was inspirational.

  61. Sunit Singhi, MBBS, MD, FCCM

    March 23rd, 2016 at 3:53 pm


    Sad indeed is the loss of a pioneer and one of the most respected members of SCCM community.

  62. Dan Teres

    March 25th, 2016 at 6:44 am


    Will was a firm believer in the peer-review process. I was involved in the early development of ICU severity scoring, the MPM system, that later became embedded in Project Impact, the official data system of SCCM. The other early system was APACHE, still widely used in clinical research. Years later, Will confided with me that he sent out my manuscripts to 5 reviewers knowing that 2 would come back as automatic rejections. He also believed that the review process leads to the next round of clinical investigations.

  63. Ellen

    April 7th, 2016 at 11:56 am


    Dr. Shoemaker
    You will remain forever an icon in Critical Care Research.

  64. Sérgio Mataloun

    July 27th, 2016 at 7:01 pm


    Rip Dr. Shoemaker

  65. Claudius Boeck MD

    September 14th, 2016 at 11:03 am


    I had the opportunity to visit some CCM lectures of Dr. Shoemaker during the European Intensive Care Congress in Brusseles which was an incomparable experience and an very inspiring “new world” for me. Thank you very much and all my condolences to his family.

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