McCabe received his MD degree from the Upstate Medical College of Medicine in 1979. He completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at the Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. McCabe currently holds certifications with the American Board of Emergency Medicine and is board certified in the sub-specialty of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. His research interests have been diverse and have covered numerous aspects of emergency medicine including the treatment of hemorrhagic shock, cardiac resuscitation, and the care of patients in the prehospital (EMS) environment.
Throughout his career, McCabe has been active in medical associations. He held all offices in the American Colleges of Emergency Physicians, including president from 1993-1994. He served as a trustee of the American Board of Emergency Medicine from 1996-2006, and held all offices within the organization, including president of the board from 2004-2005. McCabe has represented the specialty of emergency medicine at the American Board of Medical Specialties. He was elected to the board of directors and executive committee of the American Board of Medical Specialties, and served as chair of the board 2011—2012.