Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Doctor with PICU patient

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at USA Children's & Women's Hospital is the only treatment facility of its kind in the area, providing the highest level of care for critically ill and injured children. The unit is staffed with Mobile's only board-certified pediatric intensivists (critical care physicians), specially trained nurses, and is supported by our PICU transport vehicle.

A patient is considered a candidate for admission to the PICU if:

  • He/she is an infant, child or adolescent experiencing an acute illness or injury, or exacerbation of a chronic condition affecting one or more body systems,
  • He/she has a condition determined to be potentially life threatening
  • He/she has a disease process requiring highly skilled medical and nursing care.

The critical care doctors also run the Pediatric Sedation Service. This service provides relief of pain and anxiety for children who have to have certain types of procedures or tests. The service is available to children that are admitted in the hospital or those who are having an outpatient testing. Examples of these tests are MRI and CT scans or procedures such as placement of special catheters or cleaning of wounds and burns. The service is run by doctors and nurses who have specialized training in order to ensure that the sedation is done in the safest possible way for your child.


Visiting Information

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit maintains an open visitation policy.  Parents and families are encouraged to visit and spend time with their child.   Only two visitors per patient are allowed in the unit  at one time.  After 8:30 p.m., only immediate family members are allowed to visit. Exceptions to this policy may only occur with end of life issues and requires Charge Nurse/Nurse Manager, and PICU Attending Physician permission.

All visitors should wash their hands before and after direct patient contact, and when entering and leaving the patient's room. Visitors should follow the appropriate isolation guidelines ordered for the patient visiting. Parents should also discourage family members from visiting if they have a recent history or current symptoms of fever or acute illness, including an upper respiratory tract infection, gastroenteritis, or dermatitis.

All visitors must call the PICU before entering. A direct line to the nurse's station is provided at the entrance to the unit. All visitors must call and identify the child they wish to visit. The child's nurse will determine if the child may have any additional visitors. Visitors may at times be denied admittance (such times may include but are not limited to the following situations; if the child already has two visitors, if a procedure is being performed on the child, etc.). Visitation is restricted during shift change, which is between 7 a.m.-8 a.m. and 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Visitation may also be restricted during morning rounds.

A waiting room is provided just outside the front door of the PICU near the elevators. Accommodations for sleeping in the PICU are not provided. One or two family members may spend the night in the waiting room (the space limitations in the waiting room may require the charge nurse to limit overnight visitors to one per child during periods of high census). In addition, linens may be obtained from the PICU staff. The linens should be returned to the PICU in the morning or placed in a soiled linen hamper in the waiting room.

A restroom, with a shower, is provided in the waiting room for parents and families. Additional restrooms are located on the first floor in the lobby. If additional shower facilities are needed, the charge nurse will coordinate a location with the nurse manager or nursing supervisor. The Ronald McDonald house is available nearby for overnight sleeping arrangements. All family members and friends must follow the dietary guidelines for the patient they are visiting.

A house phone is provided in the waiting room. This phone is provided for communication with the PICU. External phone calls should be limited to five minutes. There is a phone located by the elevators (just outside of the waiting room) that can also be used for external calls. Families and visitors will not be allowed to use the telephones located in the unit, except under emergency conditions. In addition, cell phone usage is prohibited in the PICU. Family members of patients should not call directly into the unit. These phone calls should be received in the waiting room.

Anyone wanting to visit a PICU patient, but who is not related to the patient, must obtain special permission from the parents.


Contact Information

Medical Director - Rosa Vidal, M.D.
Nurse Manager - Karen Deakins



The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is located on the second floor of USA Children's & Women's Hospital. Our telephone number is (251) 415-1546.  To coordinate PICU transport, physicians please call 1-866-872-7428 (1-866-USA-PICU).


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