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UC Davis Children’s Hospital

UC Davis Children’s Hospital

Pediatric Critical Care

The pediatric critical care doctors at UC Davis Children’s Hospital are experts in helping patients who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses or injuries or require intensive care to recover after major surgery.

The hospital’s state-of-the-art pediatric intensive care unit/pediatric cardiac intensive care unit offers care for the most critically ill and injured children. Here, pediatric critical care physicians partner with medical and surgical specialists and specially trained nurses and respiratory therapists to provide care for more than 1,000 infants, children and adolescents each year with conditions including severe trauma, congenital heart disease, respiratory failure and severe infections.

Children who have had heart surgery or other major operations stay in the unit until they are well enough to do without the supervision of our intensive care physicians and can be managed without the life support capabilities that are provided in the unit.

Patients arrive at the unit via a wide variety of means, often with the assistance of the UC Davis Children's Hospital’s Critical Care Transport Team. The most comprehensive such service in Northern California, it has the capability of traveling by ambulance, aircraft, or helicopter.

Transport team members provide inter-hospital critical care to ensure patients arrive safely at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Over 600 children each year receive specialized care with the help of this program. Referring physicians work with the UC Davis neonatal and pediatric medical team to bring patients from distant and rural locations to our hospital for high-level care.

In 2009, the team expanded to include a state-of-the-art pediatric transport ambulance. The customized, top-of-the-line vehicle, wrapped from roof to rims in family-friendly images of children of all ages, is a 14-foot, extra-long ambulance designed for the comfort of patients and their families. It is staffed by members of the hospital’s Critical Care Transport and First Responder EMS-Sacramento teams, comprised of dedicated emergency medical technicians, nurses, and physicians who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to transport critically ill infants and children.

For those who cannot come to Sacramento, UC Davis’ pediatric telemedicine program, the first of its kind in the United States, provides physicians and patients with real-time remote consultation and evaluation though interactive, high-definition video and audio communication. This technology allows UC Davis to offer its expertise to remote health care providers, without the need to transfer a patient to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

The hospital’s core group of pediatric critical care doctors have diverse clinical and research interests, including:

  • Jacqueline Meryl Evans, whose research focuses on ways to improve the care of children with complex congenital heart disease, including those who require extracorporeal life support
  • Jennifer Plant, who cares for pediatric patients who are critically ill from a variety of conditions, including congenital heart disease and trauma
  • Robert K. Pretzlaff, who has a clinical interest in treatment using extracorporeal life support for patients with severe cardiac or respiratory failure

The American College of Surgeons has verified the UC Davis Children’s Hospital as a level I pediatric trauma center, one of only three such centers in California and the only one north of Los Angeles. This designation promotes the development of trauma centers that provide the entire spectrum of care—from the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process—to address the needs of all injured patients.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital is the Sacramento region’s only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital for children, serving infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care.