Happy 90th birthday to William C. Shoemaker, MD, MCCM, founding father and third president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) (1973-1974). As a way of honoring him on this special day, we encourage you all to wish him a happy birthday and share your favorite memories.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, 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, followed by a fellowship in surgery and biochemistry at Harvard Medical School.
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.
By the 1960s, Shoemaker has already established himself internationally as a leading force in the field of multidisciplinary critical care. He was a major contributor to the advancements in the science of critical illness, including clinical research into hemodynamic abnormalities, from mechanism of injury to an organized approach of 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. In addition to his scientific accomplishments, he was also a key voice in the effort to have critical care considered a specialized area of medicine, and a staunch believer that optimal critical care was delivered by a multidisciplinary team.
Shoemaker’s capacity for conceptual thinking no doubt helped with the formation of the Society of Critical Care Medicine. His wife, Norma J. Shoemaker, RN, MN, FCCM, became the organization’s first executive director, running the SCCM “office” from a desk in their Anaheim, California, home. The couple played a vital role in the growth of the Society and the lives of others.
One of 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 bi-monthly publication. He remained the editor until 1991, by which time the journal was published monthly as one of the most well respected resources in the field. He is well regarded as a scientist, an organizer, and an educator. He is respected and admired by all who meet him.
Please take a moment to wish Dr. Shoemaker a happy birthday!