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Thanks to the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, Gisselle Aguilar Sabillón, MD, recently led two Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support courses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, training 39 pediatric residents and ICU nurses and providing standardized knowledge about caring for critically ill children.
Gisselle Aguilar Sabillón, MD, views the seven countries of Central America as one region. Dr. Aguilar Sabillón is a pediatric intensivist from Honduras and wants to improve the care of critically ill children in the region. Thanks to the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, she recently took a step in that direction. Dr. Aguilar Sabillón led two Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support (PFCCS) courses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, training 39 pediatric residents and ICU nurses and providing standardized knowledge about caring for critically ill children. “We have begun a generational change in the approach of caring for the critically ill child in every aspect,” Dr. Aguilar Sabillón said. “This training will have an exponential effect on the quality of care for critically ill children in this underserved area of the world.”
Dr. Aguilar Sabillón’s training was part of SCCM’s continued efforts to offer Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) courses in underserved areas of the world. FCCS courses are designed for healthcare professionals who have not been trained to care for critically ill patients. SCCM offers six FCCS courses with specific critical care focuses: FCCS, PFCCS, FCCS: Crisis Management, FCCS: Obstetrics, FCCS: Surgical, and FCCS: Resource Limited.
With the help of financial grants from the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, SCCM has been providing free FCCS training in underserved areas to expand access to cardiac critical care recovery training. Since 2020, the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation has awarded SCCM three grants, which have enabled SCCM to hold courses for more than 3600 learners in 14 countries and seven U.S. states. “Because of these grants, SCCM has been able to expand access to cardiac critical care recovery training by focusing on high-risk and cardiac surgery programs in underserved areas of the United States and around the world who otherwise could not attend due to financial considerations,” said SCCM Chief Philanthropy Officer Mark Lenhart.
In Honduras, Dr. Aguilar Sabillón trained first- and second-year pediatric residents at the second largest hospital in the country, which has limited resources and high-complexity pediatric patients. “By certifying the vast majority of our residency program, we can ensure better understanding and treatment of our children,” she said. Dr. Aguilar Sabillón also trained 15 nurses in the pediatric ICU of Hospital Mario Catarino Rivas and the Honduran Social Security Institute—the two institutions that can provide a higher level of care for critically ill children in San Pedro Sula.
“Offering free Fundamentals training in these underserved areas provides these learners with a wonderful opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills from expert instructors who are from their local area and who understand the challenges they are facing in their healthcare environment,” Mr. Lenhart said. “Courses can be modiﬁed for attendees with no prior experience or knowledge of critical care medicine and take into consideration the resources that are available.”
Dr. Aguilar Sabillón said that she has already seen the difference that FCCS training can make. Her care team can better identify potentially critically ill children on arrival to the emergency department. The PFCCS training has also afforded a team-building opportunity for the residents and nurses, bringing them closer together. Attitudes and confidence have improved as well. “In the first week after our training, our nurse personnel voluntarily participated in the air transport of an 80% burned patient with a second-year pediatric resident who had also completed PFCCS training,” she said. “That would have never happened before this training.”
Kundan Mittal, MD, FCCM, witnessed the same attitudinal changes after leading FCCS training throughout India. “The training was appreciated by participants since it helped them improve their knowledge and skills,” Dr. Mittal said. “Further, it will help in preventing morbidity and mortality.” That was the original goal of the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation when it launched its Every Heartbeat Matters initiative, which focuses on impacting the lives of underserved patients related specifically to structural heart disease and critical care. Between 2014 and 2020, more than 1.7 million underserved people were educated on, screened, or treated for heart valve disease. The Edwards Lifesciences Foundation aspires to improve the lives of 2.5 million more underserved people by 2025.
If that goal is to be reached, it will be thanks in part to people such as Dr. Aguilar Sabillón, who taught residents and nurses and trained future Fundamentals instructors. One trainer was from El Salvador and one was from Nicaragua. Both traveled to Honduras for Dr. Aguilar Sabillón’s courses, and both will return to their countries and begin training others. By sharing these lessons, Dr. Aguilar Sabillón is optimistic that the region she calls home will feel more whole, at least as it relates to critical care.
“The FCCS training has allowed me the opportunity to reach a significant number of professionals who have and will continue to apply all their knowledge to the benefit of critically ill children in my country and my region,” she said. “I would like to thank SCCM and the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation for this opportunity. You are making history and changing lives, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
Posted: 11/14/2023 | 0 comments
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