5 Tips for preparing for surgery from Dr. Atlas

5 Tips when your child needs surgery from Dr. Matthew AtlasWhen your child needs surgery, it’s nerve wracking. You want the best for them, but what should you look for in a hospital and anesthesiologist?

Dr. Matthew Atlas, a pediatric anesthesiologist, at Old Pueblo Anesthesia, shared these suggestions:

1. Go to a hospital or surgery center that has lots of experience taking care of children.

Hospitals and surgery centers that specialize in children have lots of resources to help you and your child’s experience be as stress-free as possible. A child-focused hospital will have preoperative tours, pamphlets and videos to help your child prepare. Many hospitals, like TMC for Children, have Child Life Specialists, professionals who utilize age-appropriate techniques to help children and families cope with the stress of being in the hospital, being sick, having procedures and dealing with disability and pain.

2. Make sure your anesthesiologist is experienced and comfortable in taking care of children

monus14285_1Go to the American Society for Anesthesiologists (ASA), The Society For Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA) and the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) Web Pages and look at the information for patients and families to learn all you can and get answers to your questions. TMC for Children is unique in that Old Pueblo Anesthesia provides 24/7 pediatric anesthesia call coverage at  TMC for Children.

3. Have questions? Don’t be bashful

Do not be bashful about calling the pediatric anesthesiologist and asking them to call you before the procedure if necessary. While they may not always be able to get back to you, most of the time it is no problem.

4. Talk to your anesthesiologist about if it would be appropriate to be with your child as they go to sleep

In certain instances it may be possible for you to hold or sit next to your child while they go to sleep. This can be very beneficial to your child and reassuring to the parent. Parental presence during induction of anesthesia (PPIA) is not appropriate for every patient, parent or procedure. It is a decision that will be made between you and your child’s anesthesiologist depending on their professional judgment about what is best for your child at that time.

5. Never be dishonest with your child about their surgery

Always be truthful and explain to them in a kind, caring and age-appropriate manner what they will be experiencing. A child is way more capable of understanding and dealing with these things than we appreciate. You only have one chance to make it right. If they find out that what they were told was not honest you will lose their trust forever. They will also have a way more stressful and anxiety filled experience every time they have to interact with doctors or hospitals in the future. Remember they will follow your lead. If you are calm and confident they will be calm and confident. Reassure them that you will be there and that they are safe. Many of our children’s fears have been learned from us. This is an opportunity to display true emotional fitness and help our children through a very stressful time and grow and develop their own emotional fitness.

Dr. Matthew Atlas is a board certified pediatric anesthesiologist with Old Pueblo Anesthesia. Old Pueblo Anesthesia is part of Tucson Community Pediatric Specialists, doctors within our community focused entirely on taking care of your children.

Tucson Community Pediatric Specialists