Dr. Akira Nishisaki is one of the JMSA Vice Presidents and an attending in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). On November 21, 2022, he gave a very informative talk about the Pediatric ICU. He first explained the concept of the pediatric ICU or PICU. The PICU is the distinct place where a critically ill or injured child can receive comprehensive high-quality care. One-third of children admitted to the PICU at CHOP are in need of respiratory support due to the current spread of illnesses such as RSV and influenza. Despite people’s fears, more than 95% of patients who are admitted to the PICU are eventually discharged as they recover from their acute illnesses.
He then spoke about the Japanese PICU and stated that there are only approximately 30 PICUs in Japan. PICU specialists or intensivists are limited in Japan and often general pediatricians provide care for critically ill children. He hopes that there will be an increase in physicians who are trained in ICU care and better regionalization with safe pediatric medical transfer systems in Japan. Dr. Nishisaki is a leader in simulation exercises that allow teams of medical students and doctors in Japan to connect with ICU doctors in the US to learn about critical pediatric ICU scenarios and how to act and what to do to best treat the patients. He ended the talk by emphasizing that people in the community to help decrease PICU admissions by following simple preventative measures such as child safety in the house (such as making sure children won’t get a hold of small batteries that they can eventually swallow), wearing seat belts and using helmets and to follow routine immunization guidelines such as getting the influenza vaccine or getting the covid vaccines as recommended to prevent serious disease.
Thank you, Dr. Nishisaki for a truly valuable webinar that gave a rare look into the PICUs in the US and also in Japan.