By Benjamin Flowers
Dr. Jorge Hidalgo, head of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), has increased his qualifications by earning a Master’s degree in Critical Care Medicine from the American College of Critical Care (ACCC).
Hidalgo received his award at a ceremony in Orlando, Florida last week making him the only doctor at the KHMH with that certification. He explained on Tuesday that the new qualification will benefit the KHMH by affording greater opportunities for regional and international collaboration.
“Perhaps more important than the Masters itself is the fact that it opens doors for us to be able to work with other programs (in critical care medicine),” Hidalgo said. “The most important thing for us is to work on our human resources and skills. We can have the best unit here but without a trained staff it will make things difficult.”
He explained that the entire process took 12 years, beginning in 2004 when he became a member of the ACCC. He had to complete several criteria to advance to being a “fellow” of the college, which included setting up a “Professional Practice on Intensive Care” which required him to assemble a team of nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and specialist doctors to work within an ICU.
Once he became a “fellow”, Hidalgo along with KHMH’s Dr. Pedro Ariaga, formed the Belize Society of Clinical Care in 2007. The society began collaborating with the World Federation of Societies of Critical Care, and Pan American Federation in 2010. That same year they formed the Central American and Caribbean Consortium of Intensive Care, one of the most rapid growing societies of critical care in the region.
He also had to publish material and travel to other territories to share his experience to rank up to being a Master. Prior to the certification, he travelled to Ecuador to speak at a critical care conference. Hidalgo has conferences scheduled for later this year in Botan, Paraguay, and Bolivia. He is also scheduled to publish a book in November focusing on tropical diseases such as Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue.