Useful Information About Your Child's Surgery

Having surgery can be an overwhelming time for children — and their parents. At Mary Bridge Children's, we want to make that experience as stress-free as possible.

Your Child's Care Team

At Mary Bridge, each child is cared for by a pediatric team dedicated to providing compassionate care of the highest quality. Our quality care starts with the expertise of our doctors, nurses and health care professionals. We support our provider teams with the latest technology and facilities that promote collaboration.

Pre-Surgery Tours

Pre-surgery/pre-admission tours are provided for children 2 years and older and their families to acquaint them with the hospital/surgery process. Our Child Life Specialists use dolls, books and developmentally appropriate techniques to answer questions about procedures in a way a child can understand. All tours are by appointment only. Please connect with a Child Life Specialist by email, or by phone at 253-403-5315 or 800-552-1419 ext. 5315 for an appointment.

Important Tips Prior to Surgery

  • Call your insurance company to make sure the surgery is covered under your plan.
  • Please call your surgeon's office if your child has any cold symptoms, such as a runny nose, fever or any change from his or her usual health. Also, notify the office if your child has been exposed to or has any infectious diseases such as MRSA, tuberculosis, measles, mumps or chicken pox.
  • Please bring your insurance card or medical coupon with you on the day of surgery.
  • On the day of surgery, your child must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Please bring any legal papers for custody or guardianship if you are not a parent with legal custody. Please bring any legal papers giving consent for surgery if you are not the parent with legal custody.
  • The parent or guardian must remain at the hospital during the child's stay. In order to focus on your child's surgery, it may be easier for you and your children to make care arrangements for siblings.
  • If your surgeon tells you that your child might possibly stay overnight, please pack a bag for both you and the child.
  • Please bring any special equipment needed to help care for your child, such as a wheelchair, braces or supplies for a feeding tube.
  • Please bring a list of medications your child is currently taking, and indicate when the last dose was given.

The Day Before Surgery

You will be called the afternoon or evening before surgery to confirm your arrival time and eating and drinking instructions. Please make sure that your pre-admit paperwork includes a working phone number where you can be reached. If you have not heard from us by 5pm the day prior to your child's scheduled surgery, please call us at 253-403-9569, or page the Mary Bridge House Supervisor at 253-377-3623.

Eating and Drinking Instructions

For the safety of your child, it is very important that you follow the feeding instructions. It is possible that your child's surgery may be canceled or delayed if instructions are not followed. When our staff calls you the day before surgery, they will give specific information on when to stop solid foods, breast milk and clear liquids. Breast milk is different from formula, so you may breastfeed your child until closer to the arrival time. We will give you a specific time when we call you the day before surgery.

Solid Foods Include:

  • Formula
  • Juice with pulp
  • Milk or milk products
  • Candy
  • Chewing gum

Clear Liquids Include:

  • Water
  • Apple juice
  • Gatorade
  • Pedialyte
  • Jell-O
  • Kool-Aid
  • Popsicles

The Day of Surgery

Dress your child in comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Favorite toys, stuffed animals, games, blankets and other personal items can be brought to Mary Bridge to make your child feel more comfortable during their procedure. Please be aware that the hospital cannot be responsible for items brought to Mary Bridge, and valuables should be left home. Please remove all jewelry and piercings, nail polish and makeup prior to arrival. If your child wears contact lenses or glasses, please bring the proper case to put them in during surgery.

Where To Go

You will receive a phone call the night before surgery with instructions for checking in for your child's surgery. There are two surgery areas.

  • Mary Bridge Short Stay Unit is located on the second floor of the Mary Bridge Children's Health Center (311 South L St.).
  • Mary Bridge Surgical Admission Unit is located on the fifth floor of the hospital, in the Milgard Pavilion.

Information desks are located in both areas, and staff members will be happy to assist you in any way.

When You Arrive for Surgery

  • After checking in, you and your child will be taken to an admission room. Your child will change into hospital pajamas, and a nurse will check your child's vital signs and get an update on their health status.
  • Before going to the operating room, most children are given an oral medicine. Your anesthesiologist will determine the type of medicine that is best for your child. The medicine may make your child sleepy and unsteady. For the safety of your child, we ask that once the medicine is given, your child not walk around independently.
  • You will have the opportunity to speak to the surgeon and anesthesiologist and ask questions or discuss the procedure before your child goes to surgery.
  • Once your child has gone into surgery, we will take you to the waiting area where your child's surgeon will look for you once the surgery is over.