R. Phillip Dellinger, MD, senior critical care attending at Cooper University Health Care, director of the Cooper Research Institute, and professor of medicine and distinguished scholar at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, was honored with the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Lifetime Achievement, Clinical Excellence Award. He was among 14 individuals and organizations honored for exemplary service to the people of New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic at an awards ceremony on July 15.
“Dr. Dellinger has had a remarkable career, and it is fitting that his legacy should include the recognition of his contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which exemplify the dedication he has always shown to his patients and his colleagues. He is very deserving of this honor for his leadership, skill, knowledge, and compassion,” said Kevin O’Dowd, JD, co-CEO of Cooper.
“What many people don’t know is that Dr. Dellinger’s colleagues attempted to keep him out of the ICU out of concern for his well-being early in the pandemic. Recognizing the need for his clinical expertise, Dr. Dellinger insisted on joining his colleagues in the battle against COVID-19, which ultimately saved the lives of many. He is an outstanding physician and mentor and we are incredibly proud,” said Anthony J. Mazzarelli, MD, JD, MBE, co-CEO of Cooper.
Dr. Dellinger is featured in Cooper’s emotional, award-winning Stories in Care web series. The series brings viewers behind the scenes at Cooper detailing what is was like for frontline health care workers in the early days of the pandemic.
Dr. Dellinger, an internationally known clinician, researcher, and sepsis expert had planned to retire in October 2020 after a distinguished 40-year career in medicine, more than 20 of which have been at Cooper. However, as it did with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans. Due to his expertise in sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome, Dr. Dellinger felt a duty to step back into the clinical setting to work alongside Cooper’s critical care team to help treat the more than 3,400 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital since March 2020.
As former chair and chief of medicine and division head of critical care medicine at Cooper and CMSRU, which offers a renowned critical care fellowship program, Dr. Dellinger had personally trained a majority of the critical care physicians he worked alongside during the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, he also participated in numerous national and international panels and advisory groups as the medical community determined best practices for treating this novel virus.
Over his career, Dr. Dellinger has authored more than 250 journal articles and book chapters as well as edited more than 30 books and journal issues in the fields of critical care medicine and lung disease, featuring both laboratory and clinical research. He co-edited four editions of Critical Care Medicine (Mosby), and serves as associate editor of Critical Care Medicine journal. He was inducted as a Master Fellow in the College of Critical Care Medicine in 2012 and is a past president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). He was the recipient of the SCCM Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Dr. Dellinger is past chairman of the International Sepsis Forum (ISF) and currently serves on the ISF Council. He was the lead author of the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Surviving Sepsis Campaign International Guidelines on the Management of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock and senior author on the 2016 guidelines. He has served as lead faculty for the New Jersey Hospital Association Sepsis Performance Improvement Collaborative and has led The Maryland Hospital Association and Maryland Patient Safety Council’s Statewide Collaborative on Sepsis Performance Improvement. He is a decorated veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart during his service in Vietnam in 1971.
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