An intensive care unit (ICU), critical care unit (CCU), intensive therapy unit (ITU), or intensive treatment unit (ITU) is a special part of a hospital. Usually, people that are very sick are sent there. They need to be looked at by a nurse or doctor very closely in case they get more sick while at the hospital.
Some ICUs may work with only one type of injuries.
In 1854, Florence Nightingale went to the Crimean War. There it was important to separate seriously wounded soldiers from less-seriously wounded. Nightingale reduced death rates from 40% to 2% by creating the concept of intensive care.
Because of a polio epidemic, Bjørn Ibsen established the first intensive care unit in Copenhagen in 1953. Patients with polio require more ventilation than normal; this is why Ibsen set up a special unit for them. The first person to use this idea in the United States was Dr. William Mosenthal, a surgeon at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
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