Critical Care Transport

The critical care transport team at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is an extension of the pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit. The transport team brings critical care to neonatal and pediatric patients at remote locations throughout the region and beyond. The transport team plays a critical role in the outcome of critical illness by initiating time sensitive therapies, like aggressive shock resuscitation, as early as possible.

Two dedicated transport teams consisting of a registered nurse and respiratory therapist are available at all times. Team members have extensive critical care experience as well as lengthy training specific to the transport environment. Nearly every medical intervention possible in the intensive care unit is made possible in the transport environment with specialized equipment and highly-trained personnel. Children’s Hospital’s pediatric and neonatal transport team has transported patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and pediatric biventricular assist devices that are not traditionally considered portable.

The RN/RT team performs the majority of transports with remote direction from a pediatric critical care or neonatal physician. Pediatric critical care and neonatal critical care fellows travel with the team when necessary, providing support for patients who require invasive procedures, complicated medical management, or are at high risk for mortality.

Medcall helps to arrange physician-to-physician contact 24-hours a day and assists with setting up transportation within the tri-state referral area as well as for national and international flights. Medcall coordinates transports by ambulance, helicopter, and fixed-wing aircraft. More than half of interfacility transports performed by the critical care transport team are done by air. Pilot programs using telemedicine contact with referring facilities to improve quality of communication and facilitate earlier stabilization even before transport team arrival were launched in 2011.

Referral Requirement

Physicians should call 1-412-692-5000 for transport, referral and consultation. Referrals are required from primary care physicians or other Children’s Hospital specialty services. Referrals for patients enrolled in managed care insurance plans also may require authorization from the insurance provider and primary care physician.