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Critical care medicine includes the diagnoses and treatment of a wide variety of clinical problems. Critically ill patients require care by a coordinated team, generally led by the critical care specialist. The critical care specialist needs to have a broad range of knowledge of the conditions common among critically ill patients, as well as a knowledge of the technological procedures, interventions and equipment used in care. Critical care specialists encounter a broad range of ethical and social issues related to end-of-life decisions, advance directives and counseling patients and their families.