Mr John Bowen FRCS(Paed) The Specialist Children’s Surgeon Your Child Matters
Mr John Bowen FRCS(Paed)The Specialist Children’s Surgeon Your Child Matters  

Coming to Hospital

Coming to hospital can be distressing for everyone. How many parents would not swap places with their child when they see their child so vulnerable? I will do my best to ease all your anxieties by explaining as much as I can in a way that you all understand.
If your child is very anxious, or has specific fears that will make their treatment very difficult, we are very fortunate at RMCH to be able to get support from my Play Leaders. If your child has an illness on the Autistic spectrum, please let me know before you attend hospital or Out-patients so that we can be in touch and devise a pathway of care individualised for you child.


What about after my child’s operation?


Most children I treat are admitted as ‘day cases” that is, your child will be admitted and discharged the same day.

Please make sure you have plenty of Calpol or paracetamol at home- most operations I do mean that you child will be sore for a couple of days after discharge from hospital.


Generally I use dressings that will fall off after about 10 days. I sometimes will ask a District Nurse to pop in, or that you go to your GP, for a dressing change after a few days. I will discuss this with you after the operation.


I generally do not advise you bath your child for 24 hours after the operation. After that I am happy to recommend a daily bath or shower.


Most children are ready for school 48 hours after their operation. We can discuss this in clinic before your admission. Depending on the operation I will be doing, I do recommend older children avoid PE or sport at school for a week or two after surgery; in fact most children will find their comfortable level of activity as they recover, and I do not discourage you from letting your child do what thet want


Will you send me some information to prepare for my child’s admission to hospital?


Yes; our pre-admission team will confirm your child’s admission a few days before the planned day. Please make sure you let us know that you are coming in. We will also send you the important instructions about how to prepare your child for their operation- please read the carefully!


If your child is having a colonoscopy I will have sent you some ‘Bowel prep’. You give these strong laxatives the night before your child’s examination, and they are meant to clear all of the poo from your child’s large intestine so that I can get good views all the way around. Without the bowel prep, all that I will be able to see could be last night’s supper!


It is essential that your child has nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before the intended operation time; s/he can have a glass of water no less than 2 hours before this time.


I am very happy for your child to come to the operating theatre in his/her own clothes or PJs (except if they are Man Utd- be aware, this is very important!!).


Your child should wear a hospital gown if I am carrying out a colonoscopy.


Please do bring a favourite teddy or toy, but please don’t bring many items as things do get lost.

What happens when we arrive at the hospital?


One of my Nursing staff will introduce you to the ward.
My Nurses will ask some questions about your child to make sure we are prepared for the operation.

You may be asked to choose a meal for after the operation.

Your Anaesthetist will meet you and discuss the anaesthetic.

Please ask all the questions you feel necessary.


I will also be there to go through the operation again; I will ask you to sign a consent form that gives me permission to do your child’s operation. Please do not sign this until you completely understand what I am planning.

I will give the chance for older children to sign the consent form too; although this is not a legal requirement, it does let your child tell us they understand what is happening to them.

Tell me what happens around the time of the operation


You will able to accompany your child to the anaesthetic room. This can be quite upsetting for some parents.
Once your child has been ‘put to sleep’, my nurses will accompany you back to the ward.
You will usually be apart from your child for less than an hour.

Once your child is awake in the recovery room, you will be able to go over and fetch him/her back to the ward, with one of our nurses.

I usually advise you to give your child some food, or a feed, when s/he is back on the  ward.

Your child might be sleepy for couple of hours after the operation.

Children often don’t have a wee before they go home.


What happens in the post-op period?


I hope to discharge your child within 2 or 3 hours after they come back to the ward from theatre after a ‘day-case’ operation.

I will come and visit you on the ward as soon as I can after the operation to let you know how things went, and  discuss dressings, discharge, school, pain relief etc.

A review in clinic (Follow-up) is sometimes necessary a few weeks after surgery. I will organise this before you leave hospital if I can.

 I will always write to your GP so that s/he knows what I have done, and if I want them to help with your child’s post-op care. After some operations I will ask a District Nurse to pop in, or that you see your GP practice nurse.

My Nurses on the ward will also give you contact details before you go home in case you need to ring them.


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