Davee Pediatric Neurocritical​ Care Program

The aims of the Ruth D. & Ken M. Davee Pediatric Neurocritical Care Program are to improve neurologic outcomes following brain injuries and to reduce neurologic complications of critical illness. The physicians and nurses in this program practice within the pediatric, cardiac and neonatal intensive care units where they treat infants and children with brain injuries.

Established in 2005, this is the only program of its kind in the greater Chicago area, and one of the few in the nation. This interdisciplinary program combines the knowledge, experience and resources of physicians, nurses and scientists in the Divisions of Neurology, Critical Care, Neurological Surgery, Medical Psychology, Neuroradiology, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Lurie Children’s and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).

It’s the only pediatric program in the country that also provides a long-term, multidisciplinary, neurocritical care outpatient follow-up after patients are discharged. The program is recognized as a national leader in pediatric neurocritical care and is part of the Divisions of Neurology and Critical Care. The division of Neurology is ranked among the top in the nation for pediatric neurology and neurosurgery by U.S.News & World Report.

Watch the video below to see how our team of specialists came together to deliver life-saving care to Charlie, a patient with Moyamoya disease.

Condition​s We Treat

The neurocritical care team evaluates and treats infants and children hospitalized in the intensive care units with a wide range of serious neurologic conditions, including:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Status epilepticus
  • Neurologic complications of critical illness
  • Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
  • Brain damage from near-drowning
  • Cardiac arrest-related brain injury
  • Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome 
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Neurometabolic disorders
  • Perinatal stroke
  • Perinatal hypoxia-ischemia
  • Central nervous system tumors
  • Spinal cord injury

The ​Lurie Children’s Difference

We focus both on the acute detection and management of brain injury in the Intensive Care Units (ICU), and on the long-term management of the injury and its complications. We believe that early recognition and targeted therapies in the ICU help us produce the best outcomes in treating acute brain injuries. Time in both the ICUs, as well as rehabilitation to protect the brain and promote recovery is very important.  

In addition to our specialists, we use advanced technologies to monitor brain function and to guide therapies, including:

  • Continuous video EEG monitoring to detect seizures or changes with cerebral activity
  • Transcranial dopplers to measure the rate of cerebral blood flow
  • Intracranial pressure monitoring
  • Near infrared spectroscopy to assess cerebral metabolic demand
  • Pupillometry to assess autonomic function
  • CT and MR imaging
  • Cerebral angiography

Wha​t to Expect

Your child will receive round-the-clock neurocritical care in the PICU, located on the 16th floor or CICU on the 15th floor. If you plan on having visitors, please review our general guidelines for visiting PICU patients.

Newborns needing neurocritical care stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on the hospital’s 14th floor. 

Our Specialists

The neurocritical care team comes from many specialties and includes the following group of physicians and nurses:

Our extended team involves specialists with expertise in neurotrauma, critical care, neuroradiolology, psychiatry and rehabilitation medicine. We also work with our colleagues in adult neurocritical care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Our colleagues include:

Dr. Wainwright established and directs the Neurocritical Care Program. He is an attending physician and the Founders' Board Chair in Neurology. Dr. Wainwright is also a Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Fellow​ships

Education and advocacy are important components are our program and Lurie Children’s offers one of the few pediatric neurocritical care fellowship programs in the country. Our former trainees, including intensivists and neurologists have appointments as faculty members in neurocritical care in the United States and Canada. 

Learn more about our fellowship program. 

Re​search

All of our faculty are involved in clinical or bench research related to pediatric brain injuries. 

Dr. Wainwright’s lab focuses on the role of brain inflammation in long-term outcomes after traumatic brain injury. His research interests also include development of biomarkers for brain injury, bioinformatics and multi-modality monitoring.

Dr. Smith is studying the use of hypothermia in the treatment of cardiac arrest. He is interested in cerebral blood flow in acute brain injuries and neurologic complications of sepsis.

Dr. Goldstein​ is interested in the application of continuous EEG monitoring in the ICU and neurologic complication of ECMO.

Active areas of research within the program include studies of: 

  • Therapeutic hypothermia for cardiac arrest
  • Biomarkers of CNS injury following cardiovascular surgery
  • EEG monitoring during Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation
  • Neurologic complications of sepsis
  • Neurologic complications of acute liver failure
  • Management of severe traumatic brain injury
  • Long-term outcomes following acute brain injury

Referrals & Second O​pinions

We welcome referrals and requests for second opinions. Physicians can arrange emergency patient transport to the PICU by calling the Transport Team at 1.800.540.4131. 

To speak with the neurocritical care attending on call, please contact the Division of Neurology at 312.227.3550.

Learn M​ore

For more information about pediatric brain injury, please view these helpful websites:

Philanthr​opy 

Your support is important in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. The generosity of The Davee Foundation in Chicago provided start-up funding for our program.

To learn more, please contact Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at foundation@luriechildrens.org, call 312.227.7500 or make a gift today​.


Using Big Data to Improve Outcomes of Critically-ill Kids

Mark Wainwright, MD, PhD, is developing data analysis tools to help predict, and prevent, serious complications in our PICU patients before they happen.

Learn more.


​Neurocritical Care Consults Available in Rockford

For patients at Rockford Memorial Hospital, our neurocritical care specialists provide telemedicine consultations 24/7 directly to patients and providers. By offering access to neurocritical care specialists remotely, Lurie Children’s can help improve the outcomes of patients in distant locations, which can prevent unnecessary patient transfers.