Surgical Intensive Care Unit

The Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) is the multispecialty medical care center for critically ill patients who require surgery or are recovering from surgery. The SICU is adjacent to the Level 1 Trauma Center at the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest. Over 1,600 people are admitted to the SICU annually.

UC San Diego Health System's Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Directed by Jay Doucet, MD, and nurse manager Juana Burkhart, RN, CCRN, the SICU delivers coordinated care to patients in life-threatening medical need. Onsite 24 hours a day, the team includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, critical care nurses, respiratory therapists and many other specialists.

People treated at the SICU have a variety of conditions. For example, patients may be monitored in the SICU following:

  • Complex surgery after serious injury, such as a motor vehicle accident or other trauma
  • Organ transplantation
  • Acute surgical illness such as a burst appendix or strangulated hernia
  • Neurosurgery to relieve intracranial pressure
  • Giving birth in a high-risk situation
  • Experiencing shock, cardiac arrest or sepsis

SICU patients benefit from our dedicated and talented 90-person critical care nursing staff. We collaborate closely with specialists at the Neurological Institute, Moores Cancer Center, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and other services at UC San Diego Health System.

The professionals in the SICU are your health care advocates. We understand the stresses placed on you and your family in critical care situations. We communicate with you, your family and other members of your medical team to provide the best possible care.

Following surgical intensive care, you will enter the surgical progressive care unit while you continue to recuperate. The surgical progressive care unit allows a consistent team of specialists and nursing staff to manage your care, and eliminates trauma patients from having to be transported to other areas of the hospital.