Critical Care

Dr. Peter Skippen, Interim Division Head

BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) provides expert care for the province’s most seriously ill or injured children, including newborns and adolescents. Based in Vancouver, BCCH reaches across the province with vital health services that may not be available anywhere else in British Columbia (BC). We provide specialized training in pediatric health care and work with renowned researchers to achieve better health for children and youth. BCCH is affiliated with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the Child and Family Research Institute, and other education and research institutions.

The Hudson Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is a 28-bed facility, separated into three distinct pods, one of which is dedicated to Cardiac Intensive Care. The development of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit was supported by the The Milan & Maureen Ilich Foundation. The PICU is located in the Teck Acute Care Centre (TACC) which opened in 2017. Single patient rooms, state-of-the-art monitoring and a multitude of workspaces have elevated the care we provide to approximately 1200 patients annually. The unit provides quaternary care pediatric critical care including all forms of cardiac surgical intervention, advanced ventilation, renal replacement therapy and Extra-Corporeal Life Support.

In addition to excellence in clinical care, the Division also provides leadership in research and education of health care professionals and the general public with respect to the provision of pediatric critical and intensive care.

UPDATED July 2nd 2021

Pediatric Intensive Care in British Columbia began in the 1950s, when Dr. Sydney Segal began to facilitate the transport of children and adults with polio around the province.  Transport was expanded to newborns and older children without polio in 1960.  Dr. Segal introduced the then "new" intensive respiratory care of the neonate in the Delivery Suites at Willow Pavilion at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).  In 1960, Dr. Gordon Pirie joined the Department of Pediatrics and by 1964 became the principal transporter and clinician in Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care for BC.  At the time there was no defined Pediatric Intensive Care Unit as we would recognize it today.  Children requiring intensive care were looked after in various locations, including the Health Centre for Children, the Infectious Diseases Pavilion or in the adult ICU at VGH.  During this period, the transport service was supported by the Federal Government using military and air-sea rescue aircraft, with the Provincial Government coordinating the service and occasionally providing private aircraft.

Planning for the new Children's Hospital begun in the 1960s with Dr. Pirie directing the design of the new PICU. The development was a major advancement. The transfer of the first patients to the new unit occurred in June 1982, under the leadership of Dr Pirie and Head Nurse Ms. Elsie Gilchrist.  In the early 1970s, Drs Tony Gaal, Volker Ebelt and Barry Maclean contributed to the care of newborns and pediatric patients requiring intensive care. Respiratory Therapy service also became fully involved in the critical care areas under the medical direction of Dr. Pirie and under the management of Debbie Cain and Geoff Vachon.

Drs Wensley and Adderley joined the team in 1984.  Dr. Seear was the first PICU Fellow in 1986/7.  In 1989, Dr Mary Bennett joined the faculty becoming one of the first formally PICU-trained female intensivists in Canada.  The PICU Clinical Fellowship Training Program was established in 1986 by Dr Adderley and in 1989 became the first sub-specialty Resident Program in Pediatric Critical Care to be recognized by the Royal College in Canada.  The Program underwent successful accreditation by the Royal College in 1993, the first fully reviewed program in Canada, and has remained fully accredited ever since.

In 1998, under the leadership of Drs Arthur Cogswell and Avash Singh, and collaboration between Neonatology, Cardiac Surgery and PICU, an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program was established, funded by the Ministry of Health

Dr Pirie’s legacy is a provincial resource proving state-of-the-art pediatric intensive care to all children in BC and sometimes beyond, made possible because two physicians in the early 1960s were determined and stubborn enough to try, despite contemporary wisdom, to support infants with respiratory distress, who were doomed to almost certain death with conventional therapy at that time.  We hope that we can continue, in their pioneering spirit, the continued development of PICU in BC.

Past Intensivists
Dr. Gordon Pirie (Founder)
Dr. Tony Gaal
Dr. Volker Belt
Dr. Andrew McNab
Dr. Barrie MacLean
Dr. David Wensley
Dr. Robert Adderley
Dr. Mike Seear
Dr. Mary Bennett
Dr. Norbert Froese
Dr. NIranjan "Tex" Kissoon
Dr. Alexander Pitfield

 
Past & Current Medical Directors
Dr. Gordon Pirie (1974 to 1993 )
Dr. David Wensley (1993 to 2004 )
Dr. Peter Skippen ( 2004 to 2010 )
Dr. David Wensley ( 2010 to 2017 )
Dr. Iain Johnstone ( 2017 to 2021)
Dr. Peter Skippen (Interim)

 
Past & Current Fellowship Program Directors
Dr. Robert Adderley ( 1986 to 1996 )
Dr. Mike Seear ( 1996 to 1999 )
Dr. Peter Skippen ( 1999 to 2004 )
Dr. Norbert Froese ( 2004 to 2008 )
Dr. Mary Bennett ( 2008 to 2014 )
Dr. Mona Patel ( 2014 to 2016 )
Dr. Mary Bennett ( 2016 to 2019 )
Dr. Mona Patel ( 2019 to current )

 

Research activity is supported by a research assistant/coordinator, with multiple clinical trials ongoing.

Dr. Srinivas Murthy is the Research Supervisor for the pediatric critical care training program. He was also appointed as the Health Research Foundation of Innovative Medicines Canada Chair in Pandemic Preparedness Research.

Gordon Krahn is the Research Coordinator and Quality Lead and provides support for individual and multicentre research.

The UBC pediatric critical care training program is fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The program is based at BC's Children's Hospital, which is the only tertiary care pediatric facility in BC, serving a population of approximately 4,500,000.

Please visit our Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Training Site for more information.

The Hudson Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is a 28-bed facility, separated into three distinct pods, one of which is dedicated to Cardiac Intensive Care. The development of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit was supported by the The Milan & Maureen Ilich Foundation. The PICU is located in the Teck Acute Care Centre (TACC) which opened in 2017.  Single patient rooms, state-of-the-art monitoring and a multitude of workspaces have elevated the care we provide to approximately 1200 patients annually.  The unit provides quaternary care pediatric critical care including all forms of cardiac surgical intervention, advanced ventilation, renal replacement therapy and Extra-Corporeal Life Support. The Extra Corporeal Life Support (ECLS) program continues to thrive and excel under the leadership of ECLS Director Dr. Linda Edwards, who brings her expertise from Birmingham, UK.

Vancouver PICU Faculty:
Peter W. Skippen, MB BS, FRCPC, FFICANZCA, Clinical Professor and Interim Division Head
Iain Johnstone, BSc MB ChB FRCPCH, Clinical Associate Professor
Arthur F. Cogswell, MB BS, FRACP, FFICANZCA, Clinical Associate Professor
Linda Edwards, Mb ChB MRCPCH, Clinical Associate Professor, ECLS Director
Mona Patel, MD, FRCPC, Clinical Associate Professor, PICU Fellowship Program Director, Director of Quality & Improvement
Srinivas Murthy, MD, FRCPC, Clinical Assistant Professor, Health Research Foundation of Innovative Medicines Canada Chair in Pandemic Preparedness Research
Cheryl Peters, MD, FRCPC, Clinical Assistant Professor, Cross Appointment in Anesthesia
Vi Ean Tan, MD, FRCPC, Clinical Instructor
Adela Matettore, MD, FRCPC, FAAP
Magalie Caudron, MD, FRCPC
Fiona Muttalib, MD CM, FRCPC

Victoria PICU Faculty:
Dr. Amanda Barclay, Division Head
Dr. Allon Beck
Dr. Jeffrey Bishop
Dr. Gaby Yang

Clinical Associates:
Dr. Jenny Retallack
Dr. James Harris

Clinical Fellows:
Dr. Lucile Barcat
Dr. Veronica Fiamenghi
Dr. Mohammad El Abd
Dr. Cheuk Chung Au
Dr. Louise Ngu
Dr. Joram Nyandat

Subspecialty Residents:
Dr. Caleigh Campbell
Dr. Robyn McLelland

Staff:
Jennifer Fox, Division Assistant
Meghan McDonell, Division Assistant