Pediatric Surgery

Our physicians care for children at St. Joseph Hospital and the surgery centers throughout Bellingham.  We are all trained to administer anesthesia to children safely and compassionately.

Before your child goes back to the operating room, you will get a chance to meet with the the anesthesiologist who will be caring for him.  The two of you will review your child’s medical history and discuss the anesthetic.  This is the time to ask any questions or to share any of your concerns.  We strive to make the time before surgery as comfortable as possible for both you and your child.  Many of the surgery centers have pediatric specific rooms with toys and fun artwork to help children relax.  Depending on the age of your child or his level of anxiety, we may give him a syrup with a sedative in it when you check in for surgery.  This will help to calm him.  It also eases separation from the parents and entry into the operating room.

When it is time for the surgery to start, either the nurse or the anesthesiologist will transport your child back to the operating room.  We carry the infants, but the older children get a wagon ride!  Your child will be connected to a monitor which the anesthesiologist uses to follow the pulse rate, oxygen level, blood pressure, and other vital signs during the surgery.  Anesthesia is then administered by a mask or through an IV drip.

After the surgery is finished, your child will be transferred to the recovery room.  It is likely that he will still be asleep at this point.  As children awaken from anesthesia, they are often confused about their surroundings.  Frequently, this leads to crying and agitation, even if they are not in pain.  The recovery room nurse will call you back to the recovery area as soon as possible to help calm your child.  Once your child is awake and comfortable he will be transferred to his hospital room or the nurse will get you ready to take him home.