One of the most significant changes in the care of patients during the past 40 years has been the establishment and proliferation of special care units. Many names have been applied to these intensive care wards, one of the most descriptive being "the healing room," used by a former patient to designate the place where he spent several days recuperating from a major operation.
Listening to a number of recent presentations on evolving problems, especially the intrusion of government and other third-party payers into the issues of who should be cared for in special care units, and hearing statements or misstatements about the origins of such units stimulated me to record how these units originated and have evolved—or at least my version of the story. The establishment of five such units in four hospitals, the first in 1948, provides the background for my presentation.
The founding fathers of special