The PICU is the section of the hospital that provides sick children with the highest level of medical care.
It can be frightening whenever your child requires admission to the hospital and even more so when they’re admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care unit (PICU). This is the story of a little boy who had a sudden devastating road accident and spent 2 weeks in the PICU during which time his life hung in a fine balance.
Vinod (name changed) was a typical hyperactive 2 year old who was hit by a speeding motor bike. His parents tried to rouse him, but he was unconscious with blood trickling from his nose and a fractured arm. They called 1066 and an Apollo Ambulance arrived in no time and raced with Vinod to the Emergency Room at Apollo Children’s’ Hospitals.
Varsha and Sharad do not remember much of what happened on that fateful day. They caught glimpses of Vinod while a large team of medical and nursing personnel quickly performed multiple tasks. The ICU and Emergency Room doctors told them that Vinod had a brain injury and he would need artificial ventilation (breathing machine). In quick succession, a collar was placed around his neck and a bright yellow spinal board under his back (to protect his spine) and he received an emergency blood transfusion. He then underwent multiple CT scans to determine the extent of his injuries.
The PICU Consultants emerged from the CT scan room with grave news. Vinod had lung injuries and a large brain hemorrhage (clot) that would need emergency brain surgery to relieve the alarming pressure rise within the skull. Varsha and Sharad could barely comprehend that their smart little boy who was so full of energy just that morning was now in a critical condition and needed immediate brain surgery. Would such a small child with multiple severe injuries even tolerate such a major procedure? They were re-assured that at Apollo Children’s Hospital, the PICU staff and high-end equipment were uniquely geared towards rapid stabilization of the most critically ill child in order to enable lifesaving surgery. The time passed in a blur and soon Vinod was being wheeled out of the Operating Theatre into the PICU.
The PICU doctors called them to see their son and Varsha and Sharad could not hold back their grief: their little boy looked so tiny and helpless surrounded by frightening equipment. The nurses explained the function of the high-tech equipment: the breathing machines (ventilator), monitors constantly displaying his vitals, the state-of-art brain pressure monitor, array of infusions pumps. Would their little boy ever shout and jump and race around again? Over the next few days, his condition see-sawed with some setbacks as his brain pressures remained high and his injured lung function also deteriorated.
However, through the dark swirl of misery and despair they couldn’t help noticing the dedication and love of the PICU nurses who so vigilantly cared for Vinod: they were sympathetic yet professional and Varsha was completely reassured that their son was in safe hands.
At the end of week, the daily update from the PICU Consultants and Neurosurgeon was upbeat. The pressure in Vinod’s brain had come down to normal and the repeat scan looked encouraging. They were going to “test” Vinod by giving him a trial off the ventilator. Vinod passed the test with flying colours and then everything seemed to improve rapidly. Soon all the lines and tubes were removed, Vinod was crying and kicking vigorously and seemed like his former self.
The neurologists say that Vinod will soon be completely normal, except for needing to take seizure medications for a couple of years. He would have no repercussions of his brain injury and his future looked bright.
Vinod is a typical PICU survivor of a devastating accident who did well due to focused “golden hour” support, timely surgery and multidisciplinary PICU care in a technologically advance tertiary children’s hospital, such as Apollo Children’s Hospital.
The PICU is the section of the hospital that provides sick children with the highest level of medical care. It differs from other parts of the hospital, like the general pediatric wards and single rooms, in that the PICU allows intensive care and monitoring vital functions like heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure continuously.
The PICU has many highly skilled doctors (Intensivistis) and nurses who are specially trained in caring for the sickest patients and giving timely focused care, supporting vital organs and systems, liaising with other concerned specialists, and communicating with families. So when any child is critically ill, be sure to approach the Apollo Children’s Hospitals for best support.