Intensive Care evolved in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale Medical School and Yale-New Haven Hospital, as it did elsewhere, in response to specific patient needs that could not be met safely without an area of concentrated resources. In the early 1960s a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was developed by Louis Gluck to care for premature and other potentially unstable infants.

In the mid 1970s, a 6-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit was built at Yale New Haven Hospital and Peter Rothstein, M.D., from the Department of Anesthesiology, was its first Director from 1978-1983. During this time, a full-time ICU Service and regular rotation through the PICU was developed for the pediatric residents. The care of all pediatric patients needing intensive care, including a growing number of patients who underwent cardiac surgery, were cared for in the PICU.

In 1983, George Lister, M.D., became Director of the PICU and in the following year he established the Section of Critical Care and Applied Physiology in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine. Over the ensuing years, Dr. Lister presided over an impressive expansion of both the clinical and academic activities of the section. In addition, in 1985, he was named Director of an NIH-sponsored cardiopulmonary training program (T32) that had been in existence since 1977 under the directorship of Norman Talner, M.D. This was the beginning of the Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship at Yale. In 2000, the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital was built and the PICU moved to a new 11-bed unit.

The Section of Critical Care Medicine is now in its fourth generation. In 2003, Clifford Bogue, M.D. was named Chief of Critical Care Medicine and Director of the PICU, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. In 2004, the PICU was remodeled and expanded to its current size of 19 beds. The section maintains active clinical, research and educational programs. In 2012 Josep Panisello, MD became the Medical Director of the PICU as Dr. Bogue became interim Chair of Pediatrics and ultimately the Chief Medical Officer of the Children's Hospital.