The 53-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego provides Level 4 care, the highest designation available by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Ranked No. 5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report!

Our NICU is a major referral center for the most critically ill newborns, many of whom suffer from severe heart and lung conditions or are born extremely premature. Expert care is provided by the Neonatology division of Rady Children’s Specialists of San Diego.

Nurse Station at Main NICU

Designed for the best possible care and comfort, our NICU has homelike private and semi-private rooms to help parents bond with their newborns. The rooms are equipped with specially designed chairs, which enable all our infants to have skin-to-skin contact with mom and dad. Learn more.

Rady Children’s also operates Level 2 NICUs at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, Scripps Memorial Hospital La JollaScripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista, Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego and Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta, along with a Level 3 NICU at Palomar Medical Center Escondido. Additionally, we provide services (on site and on a consultative basis) to other hospitals throughout San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties, across the nation and as far away as Saipan. The neonatologists of Rady Children’s Specialists of San Diego also staff the NICUs at Pomerado Hospital and UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center.

Video: Learn about our innovative Neonatology program

Throughout the community, we continue to enhance the infrastructure for providing care. In December 2016, the Rady Children’s NICU at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla relocated to a new space. Jane O’Donnell, M.D., medical director, will now lead a 14-patient unit with spacious private rooms. The Rady Children’s NICU at Palomar Medical Center has moved to the new Palomar Medical Center Escondido on Citracado Parkway. Dave Golembeski, M.D., medical director, will oversee the soon-to-begin construction of an entirely new space at this location.

In November 2016, the UC San Diego Hillcrest Medical Center NICU moved to the new UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center on the La Jolla campus. The new unit, under the direction of Erika Fernandez, M.D., has 52 private rooms with state-of-the-art monitoring technology.

Division Achievements:

  • Only Level 4 NICU serving San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties.
  • Leading Neuro-NICU Program in Southern California and throughout the country.
  • State-of-the-art telemedicine robots on site for patient consultations, enabling faster diagnoses and treatment decisions.
  • Among the first in the nation to purchase “SimBaby,” an amazingly realistic doll (about the size of a 6 month old) that can be used to simulate infant emergencies. (Watch the video and read our news release.)  We now have a second simulation doll that is newborn size.
  • One of the largest neonatal transport services in California, transporting infants throughout Southern California and from Hawaii.
  • Recipient of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization’s Center of Excellence Award for our ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) program. ECMO is a highly advanced life-support system used on infants with life-threatening heart or lung problems.
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia survival rate that remains higher than the published best-practice rate.
  • Ventilator-associated and bloodstream infections that remain below the published benchmark rate.

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