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Penn Surgical Critical Care (SCC) provides diagnosis, treatment and management for critically-ill patients who require surgery as well as a intensive care. These patients often have a surgical problem that a physician needs to manage, but are extremely ill, generally with more than one body system failing. These complex cases are above and beyond the capabilities of one surgeon to manage. Penn SCC surgeons are experts in dealing with these complex cases. Their ability to recognize disease processes and complications is exceptional because of their specialized training and expertise. Our surgeons are board certified in both emergency surgery and critical care, offering 24/7 attending, in-house coverage. Many other medical institutions do not have this level of care provided to patients around the clock.

Surgical Critical Care Conditions Treated

image of a piece of hospital equipmentWhen a patient becomes critically ill, regardless of the source, other body systems can become affected. The body system that is ailing or requires treatment in the ICU may not be what started a patient’s ailment. For example, an infection in one area of the body can begin to affect other areas such as the heart, kidneys or liver. Penn SCC surgeons have the expertise to care for multiple organ systems that may be affected as well as treat the original infection.

Examples of disease states that SCC surgeons treat include:

  • Cardiovascular: Shock, cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction (heart attack), cardiac ischemia and ECMO.
  • Endocrine: Diabetes, blood sugar control, thyroid, pituitary and adrenal disorders.
  • Gastrointestinal: Acute liver failure, biliary obstruction, malnutrition, perforated bowel, ischemic bowel, bowel obstruction, gastric ulcer, hernia and pancreatitis.
  • Hematological: Immunosuppression, organ transplant, cancer, anemia, low platelet counts, bleeding and clotting disorders.
  • Infectious diseases: Blood stream infections, soft tissue infections, necrotizing infections, sepsis, severe sepsis, septic shock, urinary tract infections and infected hardware.
  • Neurological: Traumatic brain injury, anoxic brain injury, stroke, agitation, delirium, seizures and spinal cord injury.
  • Pulmonary: Acute lung injury, Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), ventilator dependence, failure to wean from the ventilator, tracheostomy, pneumonia, lung abscess, collapsed lung, lung infection, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and pulmonary hypertension.
  • Renal: Acute kidney injury, renal failure, bedside dialysis, electrolyte abnormalities and fluid/water retention.

Surgical Critical Care In-House Services

In-house services offered by Penn Surgical Critical Care include:

  • Patient and family friendly facilities including:
    • Thoughtfully designed layout of rooms in the ICU that are specially designed to provide a healing environment. Rooms have a lot of natural light, which is believed to decrease incidents of delirium in patients.
    • Private bathrooms
    • A family area in every ICU unit with a pull-out sofa
    • Easy access to stores and hospital cafeteria

Our Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Our Surgical Critical Care team is made up of experts from multiple subspecialties across Penn Medicine. Our dedicated, core group of clinicians possess a level of training not found elsewhere. In addition to our board certified surgeons, these specialists include:

  • Case managers
  • Doctors/surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nutritionists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physician assistants
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers
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