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  5. Pediatric Critical Care

What is pediatric critical care?

The pediatric critical care team at McLane Children’s Hospital Scott & White cares for children who are very ill or medically unstable. These situations may result from very serious disease, infection, or injury sustained from trauma, such as a traumatic brain injury.

Critically ill children stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) located on the third floor. The PICU is a dedicated area of the hospital with sophisticated technologies and highly trained staff who specialize in treating children in serious or critical condition.

Pediatric critical care physicians called intensivists oversee the care of these patients. An intensivist is always available to help critically ill children admitted to McLane Children’s Hospital. Our doctors coordinate care with pediatric subspecialists while administering round-the-clock treatment for our young patients. We constantly monitor vital functions, such as breathing and heart rate, and are ready and equipped to care for any child in distress.

The PICU care team is made up of intensivists, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, Child Life specialists, social workers, pastoral staff, and dietitians.

What services do pediatric critical care specialists provide?

Children in the PICU often have very complicated medical conditions that involve one or more pediatric medical specialties, such as pulmonology or cardiology. Our critical care specialists manage your child’s care in the PICU, working alongside other physicians dedicated to your child’s health. This ensures a coordinated, comprehensive treatment plan best suited to your child’s needs.

We specialize in:

  • Life-sustaining care—Our primary job is to stabilize your child’s breathing, heart rate, and other life-sustaining processes so that your child can heal. Many of our patients use machine assistance, carefully monitored by experts here, until they are strong enough to breathe on their own.
  • Postsurgical care—If your child has a complicated surgery that requires breathing or other assistance after the procedure, he or she may be transferred to the PICU. This allows us to more closely monitor your child and make sure he or she is progressing.
  • Pain management—Our pain management experts work to reduce the amount of pain your child may be feeling, usually with the help of medications.

Advanced technology, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), is available at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center. Other mechanical respiratory support systems are available to help the most critically ill patients. Pediatric and neonatal ECMO ​is a temporary heart-lung bypass that allows critically ill newborns and children with heart and lung problems time to heal. This is a life-saving therapy reserved for the sickest of patients, when there are no other options.

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