Seven years ago, Cooper Hospital recruited Joseph Parrillo, the doctor who created the first critical-care medicine department for NIH and the author of more than 1,000 articles on the subject, to build a program for them that would be the best in the Delaware Valley. Today the Critical Care Center at Cooper is considered one of the best in the country. Parillo quickly recruited R. Phillip Dellinger, an expert in sepsis — a sudden, raging infection that causes more than 200,000 deaths a year. While it’s long been established that quick medical intervention for heart attacks saves lives, it was research at Cooper that proved that a similar rapid response can stave off the organ shutdown that makes sepsis so deadly. Its protocol has become the gold standard for sepsis treatment. This kind of ground-breaking research, along with the clinical expertise of bedside doctors who are all board-certified in critical care medicine, is why community hospitals all over South Jersey have sent to Cooper more than 4,000 patients with life-threatening problems like acute liver, lung or kidney failure. This is also where they send their intensive-care doctors for specialized training — Cooper is one of a handful of sites nationwide to offer special courses in critical-care support (1 Cooper Plaza, Camden, 856-342-2000, cooperhealth.org/criticalcare.htm).