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Physician Connection
A Communication Service for Physicians from CHOC and CHOC at Mission. Please Note: Physician Connection is no longer being printed and is now available electronically. Please visit our blog at http://docs.chocchildrens.org for the latest articles for our physician community. You can also receive our electronic Physician Connection newsletter in your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list: http://www.choc.org/subscribe

Physician Spotlight: Nick Anas, M.D.

In his 20 years at CHOC, Nick Anas, M.D., director of CHOC's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), has never grown weary of the enormous challenges the PICU team faces every day. "In pediatric intensive care, the stakes are so high," says Dr. Anas. "You quickly learn that parents will do anything to preserve the health of their children. When we go out on a transport in the middle of the night, we want to be able to look the parents in the eye and say, 'Your child is going to the best place possible.' Parents should feel comfortable going to sleep at night knowing we are here to care for their children."

Dr. Anas' passion for providing extraordinary care keeps him driven toward the goal he shares with all of CHOC's medical and administrative staff: to help CHOC become a premier children's hospital. The physicians at CHOC are committed to achieving excellence in clinical care, teaching, and research. As in many metropolitan areas, Dr. Anas says, the children's hospital should be the "jewel of the community."

"We have the opportunity and responsibility to make CHOC's PICU the center of excellence in Orange County," says Dr. Anas. "The idea is to establish a single unit with personnel, technology, and multidisciplinary expertise all available under one roof. All of the medical and surgical programs at CHOC expect the PICU to be a place that they can count on to provide state-ofthe- art care for their patients."

The PICU at CHOC now admits over 2,000 patients a year. Many of the most critically ill children are transported to the hospital by CHOC's very experienced and busy transport team, available 24 hours a day and comprised of nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians, dedicated to the safe and efficient delivery of critically ill and injured children to CHOC's PICU and NICU.

"The transport team brings critical care into the field where the child can be stabilized and safely returned to the Intensive Care Unit," Dr. Anas says.

All of the community hospitals and emergency rooms in Orange County and the surrounding areas have provided education through a series of lectures developed by CHOC's transport team members, and each facility has a direct connection to the CHOC PICU should they need help. "In the near future, the CHOC PICU will develop Telemedicine Connections with the referring emergency rooms in order to facilitate evaluation and treatment of the child prior to the arrival of the transport team," Dr. Anas says.

The 24-bed PICU can no longer accommodate the increased demand for services that has occurred with the population growth in Orange County and the success of programs such as the Neuroscience, Heart, and Oncology Institutes.

"When CHOC opened the new hospital in 1992, we wondered if we would ever need this much ICU capacity," says Dr. Anas. "Now we are desperately in need of more space. We are expanding the PICU to the sixth floor of the hospital where 20 beds will be devoted to the Critical Care Program and another 10 beds will comprise the Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU). The present second floor unit will be converted to a step-down area for the purpose of enhanced monitoring of CHOC patients, along with several spaces available for invasive diagnostic procedures."

As chairman of the Pediatric Subspecialty Faculty (PSF), Dr. Anas is continually involved in the recruitment of specialists to CHOC.

"It is a constant challenge to keep up with the demands and opportunities made available through ongoing clinical and bench research. We are committed to providing CHOC patients with a team of physicians that is capable of providing the most up to date care," Dr. Anas says.


In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Anas' passion is teaching CHOC Residents and Critical Care Fellows during their PICU rotations.

"If anything, I am a coach," says Dr. Anas. "There are no stars in the ICU . . . we must always work as a cohesive team. I have been blessed with a group of pediatric intensivists that are bright, hardworking, and committed to excellence. And the real unsung heroes are the PICU nurses; I cannot overstate how much I love and admire their work and devotion." The multidisciplinary PICU team members, many of whom participate in daily rounds, include respiratory therapy, pharmacy, nutrition, social services, and physical and occupational therapy.

Dr. Anas finds a strong sense of gratification in teaching, similar to that of being a parent.

"I want to provide a model for our future physicians. If our residents go out into the community emulating the passion and expertise they see here, then we as physicians have gone far beyond what we can do personally in patient care."

Dr. Anas completed his Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Rochester in New York and is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and the Sub-boards in Pediatric Critical Care and Pediatric Pulmonology. In addition to serving as director of CHOC's PICU, Dr. Anas is co-director of the Critical Care Fellowship, UCLA-Harbor/CHOC and is a clinical professor of pediatrics, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. To reach him please call 714-532-8620.


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .