AliRae, I work at the Stollery Children's Hospital at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. To make it a little clearer, we're 655 miles due north of Butte, Montana. Between London, Ontario (just northeast of Detroit) to the Pacific Ocean, there are five PICUs covering a landmass of 53.2 million square miles and serving a population of about 12 million. The PICU at the Winnipeg Children's Hospital in Manitoba has 8 beds, soon to be expanded to 10. The PICU at Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan also has 8 beds. The newly opened Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary has 20 PICU beds. And British Columbia Women's and Children's has 10 beds. There used to be a PICU at the Victoria General Hospital in Victoria, BC, but I can't find any information about its continued existence. We in Edmonton have as many beds as our medical director decides we have... in reality we have 15 actual bed spaces, including 7 isolation rooms, but we have at times had as many as 19 kids in that same space by cohorting kids in the isolation rooms. We have an average of 900 admissions per year. Our patients come from as far away as Inuvik, Northwest Territories which is some 2000 miles from here, although they usually will go to Yellowknife, NT first for stabilization. That's only 931 miles away.
Our unit is the referral centre for all pediatric cardiac surgery for western Canada. BC Children's does some low-risk surgeries, fewer than 150 per year; we do all the rest, between 500 and 600 per year. In 2005 we did 17 heart transplants. We also will admit kids from eastern Canada for heart surgery, and have had kids from every province and territory in the unit in the last two years. Recently we were named the North American training facility for the Berlin Heart, a four-chambered, pulsatile external artificial heart. We also do all the liver transplants for Saskatchewan, Alberta and most of BC. We have one of four pediatric ECLS programs in Canada and are the most active of the two in western Canada, with an average of 250 in-unit pump days per year. We have a dedicated pediatric transport team that travels to wherever a sick child is (by road, fixed wing propeller, fixed wing jet or helicopter) and brings them to our hospital for care. The majority of the patients they transport end up in PICU. Some of the nurses and RRTs are qualified to transport physicianless, but due to staff turnover that number is dwindling. We have successfully transported two children on ECLS from Winnipeg (a distance of 880 miles) via military transport plane, both of whom survived neurologically intact.
So there you have it: the state of pediatric intensive care in western Canada. Glad you asked?