10 things parents can expect when their child has surgery at St. Joseph’s/Candler

When your child is not feeling well, you want nothing but to make them feel better, and when it’s a condition that requires surgery, that can be more added stress on the parents.

At St. Joseph’s/Candler, we have a trained team of experts in place to help children get back to the playground sooner following surgery. Our medical staff performs a variety of pediatric surgeries such as ear, nose and throat, dental and orthopedic procedures. The majority of these surgeries are performed at Candler Hospital as part of The Children’s Place.

Karen Iacino
Karen Iacino, MSN, BSN, RNBC, clinical nurse manager, surgical services at Candler Hospital

We also have a pediatric hospitalist program with pediatricians on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week for young patients who might need closer monitoring.

“We are doing more pediatric surgeries than year’s past. We used to just do pediatric surgeries on specific days but now it’s Monday through Friday because we are doing a lot more,” says Karen Iacino, MSN, BSN, RNBC, clinical nurse manager, surgical services at Candler Hospital. “From outpatient surgery to The Children’s Place to our volunteers, we have a trained staff in place to take care of your child.”

Here are 10 things parents can expect when their child has surgery at St. Joseph’s/Candler:

1. Expect a phone call for pre-screening rather than an in-person visit
Most of the children who need outpatient surgery do not have to come in for pre-screening if they are healthy and the physician hasn’t requested any lab work, Iacino says. A member of our outpatient surgery staff will call ahead of the surgery date and ask some medical-related questions. If an issue is identified, the child may be asked to come in for pre-screening.

2. Expect another call the night before surgery
Our team also will call the night before your child’s surgery reminding you what time you need to be at the hospital and any other stipulations, such as the last time your child should eat. There are a few doctors’ offices that prefer to call the patients, Iacino says, but the majority of the time you can expect to hear from our outpatient surgery co-workers.

3. Expect to arrive a couple hours before your child’s surgery time to register
We recommend parents and their child arrive two hours earlier than their scheduled surgery time. This allows ample time for registration. Also, be sure to bring insurance information and immunization records and be prepared to answer questions about your child’s medical history.

4. Expect your child to be placed under anesthesia
The majority of pediatric surgeries require your child to be placed under light anesthesia. In children that are under 10, an IV will not be started until they are asleep, Iacino says. An anesthesiologist will administer the medication and monitor your child during surgery. You may meet with the anesthesiologist to discuss any questions.

5. Expect to be given a time frame regarding when your child can and can’t eat or drink anything
The anesthesiologist will determine when is the last time prior to surgery your child should eat or drink anything. Some anesthesiologists say six hours and for others it’s nothing after midnight. Children that are still breastfeeding can nurse a little closer to the time of surgery, Iacino says. The call you receive the day before surgery will remind you of your child’s restrictions.

6. Do not expect to be in the operating room with your child
Parents will remain with the child during registration, in the waiting room and in the outpatient surgery room until the child goes back to the operating room. Parents may walk to the operating room entrance with the child, but are not permitted in the actual operating room. The good news is the majority of pediatric surgeries are relatively short lasting from 15 minutes to an hour, Iacino says. As soon as surgery is over and the child begins to wake up, the parents are called back to the recovery area.

7. Expect to bring another adult if siblings accompany you
We ask that if siblings or other children come with you the day of your child’s surgery to please bring a second adult. We try to limit the amount of guests in the recovery room for safety and space concerns. The outpatient surgery lobby has a children’s area with a television and kid-friendly entertainment such as books and puzzles.

8. Expect your child to be groggy when you first see him or her in the recovery room
You will be allowed to see your child as soon as he or she starts to wake up and vital signs are checked. Your child may come across as groggy, upset or acting outside of their normal behavior. Iacino assures parents the child is not in pain but reacting to coming off pre-operation medication and anesthesia.

“We want them to go to sleep happy, but when they wake up they may seem upset. They may feel funny and ‘hung over’ but it’s not because they are in pain,” Iacino says. “With mom and dad there that usually makes it better for the child and that feeling quickly decreases.”

9. You may expect a visit to The Children’s Place
Your child’s physician will determine how long your child needs to stay following surgery. Nearly 80 percent of pediatric surgery patients finish recovery and are discharged through outpatient surgery, while the remaining 20 percent require a longer stay (typically more than two hours) and will go to The Children’s Place, which is our pediatric-friendly floor on 5North at Candler. Here, your child will continue to be monitored and begin to eat and drink again. Time spent at The Children’s Place can be just a few hours or may be an overnight stay. Parents are provided with meals, as well as a refrigerator in the room. There are movies, games, a play room and other items to entertain your child. Learn more about The Children’s Place here

10. Expect to be given instructions to monitor your child once you are home
Whether you are discharged from outpatient surgery or The Children’s Place, you will be given specific discharge instructions and possibly a prescription for your child before you go home. After returning home, you should report any of the following to your doctor immediately:

  • Fever more than 101.5 degrees
  • Pain not controlled by medication
  • Bleeding more than expected
  • Painful or absence of urination
  • Wheezing or noisy  breathing
  • St. Joseph's Hospital Campus: 11705 Mercy Blvd., Savannah, GA 31419, (p) 912-819-4100
  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
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St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

Candler Hospital Campus: 912-819-6000