Critical Care Services: Referral Directory

Physician Contacts

Leticia Castillo , M.D.
Cindy M. Darnell , M.D. - Sedation and pain management in critically ill patients
Archana V. Dhar , M.D. - Fellowship Associate Director
Joshua D. Koch , M.D. - Hypothermia in cardiac arrest
George Lister , M.D. - Department Chair
Peter M. Luckett , M.D. - Medical Director of Respiratory Care
Thiyagarajan R. Meyappan , M.D. - Cardiac Critical Care, Informatics
Darryl K. Miles , M.D. - Regulation of Glial Tumor Development
Julio Peréz Fontán, M.D. - Executive VP of Medical Affairs
Margaret Schwarz , M.D. - Vascular Development
Maeve Sheehan , M.D. - Medical Director Transport Services
Paul W. Sheeran , M.D. - Pediatric Anesthesia, Sedation, Sepsis
James A. Thomas , M.D. - Innate Immunity, Shock, Ethics
Marita T. Thompson , M.D. - ECMO Program Director

Hospital Contacts

Lori Allen , RN, CCRN - Community Liason
Karen Cavazos , RN, MBA, CNAA, BC
Lori Allen , RN, CCRN - Community Liason
Leticia Castillo , M.D. - Nutrition and metabolism in critically ill children - PICU Fellowship Program Director
Karen Cavazos , RN, MBA, CNAA, BC - Senior Director, Critical Care and Trauma Services

Meet the Team

The philosophy of providing critical care services at Children's goes beyond the doctors. We follow a patient-centered model of care, putting the patient's interests at the forefront while bringing together the combined knowledge of myriad hospital resources into the mix to meet the patient's needs. That means critical care physicians work in conjunction with nurses, respiratory care therapists and a number of other departments to ensure that the best and most innovative care is available at a moment's notice.

Description of services:

With a total of 83 intensive care beds, critical care physicians on the medical staff provide a full range of intensive care services for children from birth to 18 years. Maximum support provided for patients at risk for, or suffering from, acute life-threatening conditions, including medical, surgical, neurosurgical, traumatic, cardiac and neonatal conditions.

Members of the medical staff in critical care services include board-certified pediatric intensivists, cardiac intensivists, critical care pulmonologists and neonatalogists working in cooperation with other pediatric medical and surgical specialists on the medical staff and specialty-trained nurses, nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists. Clinical monitoring is facilitated by automated bedside computer data acquisition with continuous automated quality improvement. Clinical critical care pharmacists make rounds with each medical team, are assigned to each of the ICU's and available 24 hours a day.

Patients are admitted to one of these units based on diagnoses.

  • Women's Auxiliary Critical Care Unit - The original predecessor to this 22-bed unit was opened in 1975 and until 2001, admitted all critically ill pediatric patients. While the addition of specialized cardiac and trauma ICU's eliminated postoperative cardiac, as well as traumatically injured and neurosurgical patients from the general intensive care unit, the 12th floor ICU continues to care for patients with a broad range of life-threatening illnesses, including severe infections, asthma and other respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes and neuromuscular disease. In 2004, this unit became the receiving ICU for all patients who had undergone renal, liver or small bowel transplantation. This unit had 1,326 admissions in 2009.
  • Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Cardiac Intensive Care Unit- Children's boasts the first and largest dedicated pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit in North Texas. This 20-bed unit serves approximately 500 cardiac surgical patients and many other critical cardiac patients each year. This cardiovascular ICU is staffed by a specialized team of nurses, nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists who work with cardiovascular ICU physicians to optimize patient outcomes. Patients with high risk and special needs are referred to this children's unit from throughout Texas as well as Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and abroad.  The cardiovascular ICU staff also is dedicated to scientifically advancing the field of cardiac critical care. A recent study conducted by CVICU-based researchers at Children's has determined that babies who received reconstituted blood for heart surgery left the cardiovascular ICU roughly 25 percent quicker than those getting fresh blood. The findings appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • George D. Farr Critical Care Unit - Two specialty units, a trauma and sub-acute intensive care, were combined into a new state-of-the-art, 22-bed ICU in November 2003. Children's is the first pediatric hospital in Texas with a designated Level I trauma center, and the Pediatric Trauma ICU has been hailed as a model of multidisciplinary care for the critically injured trauma patient. Trauma patients receive care by an integrated team of pediatric intensivists and pediatric trauma surgeons, pediatric critical care nurse practitioners and a dedicated staff trained specifically for the care of these complex patients. This unit had 1,090 admissions in 2009.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

The Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at UT Southwestern has extended its physician coverage with 16 neonatologists to the Children's Neonatal ICU. In addition, neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatal nurses will support the care team. The dedicated Neonatal ICU allows the care of neonatal patients to be provided by a specialized team in a new state-of-the-art space. Dr. Rashmin Savani, Chief of Neonatology at Children's, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at UT Southwestern, says the NICU will provide a referral unit for babies with unique problems — babies that cannot be cared for elsewhere at such a world-class level. "A Level III NICU is unique in that it provides an environment where all of the staff understands the special needs of the preterm or sick baby who requires ventilation, cardiovascular stabilization, specialized surgery and advanced nutrition in order to grow and develop appropriately," Dr. Savani said. "The problems associated with the neonate and prematurity are unique, and if you're not thinking and looking for these unique aspects of the neonate, you'll miss them." "It requires specialized training and special equipment, and that's exactly what we have."

Procedures performed or problems diagnosed and treated:

Therapies provided include:

  • Continuous renal replacement
  • Conventional mechanical ventilation
  • ECMO
  • Flexible bronchoscopy
  • High frequency ventilation
  • Intracranial monitoring
  • Nitric oxide
  • Regional anesthesia

Problems treated include:

  • Acute lung injury
  • Congenital and acquired heart disease
  • Liver failure
  • Multi-system trauma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Septic and toxic shock
  • Toxic ingestions

In addition to a strong commitment to the delivery of the highest quality of patient care, many of the critical care medical staff members also serve as lead investigators on several national and international trials of novel therapeutics and technologies.

Procedures performed or problems diagnosed and treated:

Therapies provided include:

  • Continuous renal replacement
  • Conventional mechanical ventilation
  • ECMO
  • Flexible bronchoscopy
  • High frequency ventilation
  • Intracranial monitoring
  • Nitric oxide
  • Regional anesthesia

Problems treated include:

  • Acute lung injury
  • Congenital and acquired heart disease
  • Liver failure
  • Multi-system trauma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Septic and toxic shock
  • Toxic ingestions

In addition to a strong commitment to the delivery of the highest quality of patient care, many of the critical care medical staff members also serve as lead investigators on several national and international trials of novel therapeutics and technologies.

Why Children's Medical Center?

  • The ICU medical staff and consulting services are prepared for any medical and surgical diagnosis and/or crisis, and provide a full range of services and interventions for newborns through teen-agers.
  • The Children's ICU accepts all children, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Pediatric ICU attending physicians on the medical staff are full-time faculty members at UT Southwestern and are international leaders in pediatric critical care.
  • The Children's Pediatric ICU conducts leading-edge medical research and brings new therapies to patients years before they are available at other institutions. The medical staff in the Pediatric ICU helped define national and Pediatric ICU standards of care by writing one of the major textbooks in the field of pediatric critical care.
  • Critical Care Services offers a neonatal and pediatric award winning ECMO program and in house pediatric critical care attendings 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The Children's Pediatric ICU has pioneered a nurse practitioner program. In collaboration with the intensivists, these critical-care-trained pediatric nurse practitioners provide comprehensive care to critically ill and injured children, including diagnosis and treatment of complex, life-threatening conditions, and performance of emergent and invasive procedures.
  • Staff specially trained in pediatrics work together to provide care for patients. Critical Care Services consists of more than – 500 employees, including a Clinical Nurse Specialist, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, team leaders, educators, clinical managers, ECMO specialists , information system specialists, quality analysts, research coordinators,  and around-the-clock pharmacists in the unit pharmacy.
  • The Children's ICU believes in family-centered care. Immediate family is welcome 24 hours a day and limited sleeping accommodations are provided. Child life, social work, pastoral care, translational and nutrition services are all actively involved in supporting patients and families.

Additional information:

Respiratory Care philosophy at Children's (PDF)
Patient-centered care model diagram

Contact Critical Care Services

214-456-2033

To make a transfer

888-730-3627

Lori Allen, R.N., CCRN - Community Liaison

214-456-7521