Pediatric Critical Care

Rely on the experts at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, to provide comprehensive critical care to children of all ages in our dedicated pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). We offer a healing environment with staff who are focused on treating the medical and developmental needs of children, as well as supporting their families.

What Does PICU Mean?

A pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is a department in a health care facility where specially trained professionals treat patients who are in need a high level of care and constant monitoring.

Critical Care for Children

Pediatric critical care is the specialized care of children and adolescents who are recovering from a life-threatening condition. Depend on the compassionate staff at Essentia to provide:

  • 24/7 care and monitoring
  • Daily rounds at your child’s bedside, where you can receive updates and ask questions
  • Emotional support and encouragement to your entire family
  • Referrals to community resources
  • Safe sedation services, if needed
  • Education about at-home and follow-up care

You’ll appreciate Essentia’s family-centered approach to care. We consider your family’s preferences, needs, and comfort. Participate in your child’s care at a level that works for you. You can also stay by your child's side and visit them whenever you’re able. There are no set visiting hours in the PICU.

What's a Pediatric Intensivist?

Your PICU team is led by a pediatric intensivist—a doctor with advanced training in pediatric critical care. That means you benefit from the experience and education of a doctor who specializes in treating very ill patients.

Your Child’s Medical Team

Rest assured that your child will receive the best possible medical care from a team of health care professionals with specialized training. Your child’s team may consist of:

  • Pediatric intensivists
  • Pediatric specialists More information
  • Pediatricians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Registered nurses (certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support)
  • Clinical support staff with diverse experience in many pediatric specialties
  • Child life specialists

Learn about an Essentia Health doctor's path that brought her to care for critically ill children.

Like Nowhere Else: Megan Browning, MD – Essentia Health Video Transcript

View of a forest. Megan Browning smiling, seated against a tree. View of a hospital. Sign reads Essentia Health, St. Mary's Medical Center. Dr. Browning in a white coat, speaking to a group. Close up of coat, embroidery reads, Megan Browning, MD, Pediatric Critical Care.

[music playing]MEGAN BROWNING: My name is Megan Browning. I am a physician at Essentia Health, in the pediatric intensive care unit. I grew up in the home-- My father is a family physician. Caring for others was a big part of how I saw the world.

Dr. Browning walking through hospital hall. Sign reads, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Personally-- for me-- in the pediatric intensive care unit, my brother passed away due to a traumatic injury when I was 14, and he was 5. And seeing what that event was like for my family really drove me to pursue a career that would hopefully, prevent other families from having to experience that. And try and lessen the burden and the pain of those difficult times.

Dr. Browning talking to a patient in his room, laughing. They give each other a high five. View of lake surrounded by trees. Dr. Browning walking with her husband, child and dog, all in casual clothes. Sitting in a tree with her family.

After living in big cities, having the chance to come live on the North coast-- the best coast-- it was too wonderful to pass up. Duluth has so much to offer. So much beauty in the natural environment. Here at Hartley, you can see so many beautiful things. It's just wonderful.

Exterior of the hospital. Colorful mural inside hospital featuring yellow abstract figures and stars.

Having the Children's Hospital here in Duluth is a real gift. It's a blessing to be able to allow patients and their families the chance to get care closer to home. Patients come through the door and they get a very personalized experience.

Dr. Browning checking and laughing with a baby with the baby's mother. Dr. Browning talking with nurses.

We sometimes refer to our unit-- it's small, personalized, and I like to call it a boutique PICU. I'm dealing with those acute, life-saving moments with people who care so much about what they do. It makes it really wonderful to be a part of this team. To know that there's a chance to intervene for good in the lives of my patients and their families and really be able to hand back this precious possession to their parents in a state of healing is truly, a passion.

Dr. Browning swaddles baby and hands her to her mother.

One of the unexpected joys about working here at Essentia is that I can deliver high level, cutting-edge care to my patients. And then be home in time for dinner with my family. I get to really be present in all aspects of life. And there's that old saying, you can't have it all-- I think you, kind of, can, here at Essentia.

View of forest. Text, Like nowhere else. Essentia Health logo.

High-Quality Trauma Care

Count on St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital for top-quality care after a severe injury or accident. Your child’s care may start in our emergency department—the only Level II Pediatric Trauma Center in the area. If they need continued care and monitoring, we’ll admit them to the pediatric intensive care unit.

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