Surgical Services:

Surgical Services oversees the young patient’s care from the time surgery is scheduled through discharge. Several groups collaborate to ensure the best in family-centered care. Anesthesiologists, nurses, medical-technical staff, and sterile processing technicians partner with Emergency Medicine, Radiology and the Laboratory to support The Children’s Hospital surgeons.

Desmond Henry, MD
Medical Director, Surgical Services
with four-year-old Anne Louise,
nine-year-old Luke,
two-year-old Elena Grace
and seven-year-old Micah

During 2002, Surgical Services supported more than 13,000 surgical cases, a 7.9% increase in the number of cases over 2001. Patient care extends beyond clinical support in the operating room. Scheduling, registration, patient flow, pre-certification and family education are coordinated by the Surgical Services staff.

Because the physiology, anatomy, biochemistry and emotional needs of children differ substantially from those of adults, pediatric anesthesiology is recognized as a distinct subspecialty. Thirty-three pediatric anesthesiologists, including 21 who are based full-time at The Children’s Hospital, provide expert care for neonates through adolescents. The department of Anesthesiology offers an accredited residency and the only pediatric anesthesiology fellowship in a seven-state region.

Pediatric anesthesia services are also available at remote locations, such as other regional hospitals, for surgical procedures, radiation therapy and the treatment of high-risk newborns.Recognized nationally as experts in pediatric anesthesia, the anesthesiologists on Children’s staff present at numerous national and regional meetings on such topics as spinal anesthesia, neurophysiological monitoring, management of children at high-risk for apnea, and pediatric pain management.

The operating room nurses were part of a multidisciplinary team active in planning the best utilization of three new operating rooms opened in spring 2002. Scheduling, equipment usage, and staffing in the 17 operating suites were evaluated to establish optimal work flow, stream-line room turnover, and improve start times.

In answer to the growing nursing shortage, a Perioperative Educational Program was established in 2001. The nine-month program is designed to specifically train new graduates in pediatric perioperative nursing. Additionally, outreach programs to area nursing schools, technical and community colleges and high schools lay the foundation for future recruitments.

The nursing staff was also instrumental in establishing Kids’ Surgery, a suite of private rooms for the preparation and post anesthesia recovery of young patients. Private rooms facilitate family-centered care, a more comforting approach to the surgical process and a less stressful recovery period.

Improved communication with surgery schedulers in community physicians’ offices was prioritized in 2001/2002. Outreach programs to centralized locations throughout the metro area provided information about OR scheduling, billing and insurance requirements and coding. A biannual Schedulers Breakfast was initiated at the hospital to facilitate communication between community offices, internal hospital practices and OR schedulers.


Pediatric Pain Consultation

Pain pathways, as well as cortical and subcortical centers necessary for pain perception, are developed by 30 weeks of gestation. Children not only experience pain, but often have changes in behavior and eating and sleeping patterns following trauma or medical procedures.

Under the direction of the department of Anesthesiology, The Children’s Hospital Pediatric Pain Consultation Service provides the only centralized, autonomous group of pediatric pain specialists from the Mississippi to the West Coast. The Service assesses and treats both acute and chronic pain using a variety of therapies from pain blocks and medication to psychological counseling, rehabilitation therapy and complementary and alternative modalities. Children receive comprehensive diagnosis and treatment from an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, psychologists, and occupational and physical therapists. Children with complex regional pain syndrome, recurrent headaches, and recurrent abdominal pain are among those who have achieved long-term pain relief.

The success of the Pediatric Pain Consultation Service is evidenced by its increasing number of referrals. Since January 2001, more than 1,000 infants, children and adolescents have been cared for by Pediatric Pain Management team.