Denver Burn Surgeon Receives International Award | by Andrea Juarez

2016 Gusi Peace Prize, Dr. Philip Fidler, Burn and Reconstructive Centers of Colorado at Swedish Medical Center

Posted on Thu, Jan 12, 2017

Denver’s Dr. Philip Fidler traded his blue surgical scrubs for a black tuxedo last November 23 when he was in the Philippines. That night, he and 13 others from around the globe took center stage in Manila to be bestowed with the 2016 Gusi Peace Prize, an international award for excellence and distinction, described by some as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Philip Fidler, Denver Burn Surgeon

Dr. Philip Fidler

For more than 17 years, Fidler has been a burn trauma surgeon, helping treat adults and children – many who have suffered tragic burns and disfigurements.

“Dr. Fidler was selected because of his achievements and accomplishments as a burn surgeon and for his humanitarian endeavors that contribute to the respect and dignity of human life,” says the Honorable Barry S. Gusi, chairman of the Gusi Peace Price Foundation.

Fidler describes receiving the honor as an experience of a lifetime, although it still requires perspective.

“There were parades and celebrations for days. It was pretty elaborate,” he says. “It’s great to be appreciated. But, every day I see patients and what they endure. I don’t look for this type of attention. I’m as thrilled to see a patient do well or to get a thank you note from my patients.”

In 2015, Fidler moved to Colorado to become the medical director at the new Burn and Reconstructive Centers of Colorado at Swedish Medical Center, which opened its doors in June 2015. Prior to this, he was co-director of ­­­­the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital in D.C. and the director of the Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital.

Over the years, he estimates he’s treated thousands of burn injured patients.

“People who do this work know it’s hard work,” Fidler says. “We think we can always do better. We don’t pat ourselves on the back.”

In Denver, he’s doing what he loves – helping patients. The Swedish Burn Center is the only burn center in the region that treats both adults and children. This is an important service since burn patients are frequently families.

“Being able to treat families in the same hospital can ease some of the hardships that accompany the long-term recovery process,” he says.

One aspect he is particularly proud of is that the ability to pay does not determine the quality of care and treatment options. Another is that they make a point to refer to burn patients as survivors immediately in follow up, it’s important to their self-esteem, he says.

The Swedish Burn Center is a state-of-the-art facility with a dedicated operating room, two hyperbaric chambers, and a hydrotherapy suite for management of burn wounds. Moreover, the team of medical professionals are skilled and passionate about what they do.

“I work with amazing people from neuropsychologists, pharmacists, and respiratory and physical therapists. The burn nurses are the front lines and deserving of special recognition. In my view they are the best nurses in health care,” Fidler says. “Together, the team triumphs in each patient’s progress.”

Did you know?

Hydrotherapy is water-based care that enables medical professionals to carefully decontaminate patients coming into the burn unit. State-of-the-art facilities, like the Swedish Burn Center, use it to keep the patient warm and clean, and minimize the chances of a secondary infection.

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