A stranger takes you away and you wake up in pain

The recent CAPHC/CFAN report on parental presence during induction and recovery is a moving read that I present in its entirety to best show the concision and focus of the writing, the emotional richness of the supporting material and the overall groundedness of the report in the patient and family experience. Thanks to the authors of the report, and the parents, youth and staff who shared their experiences, for a powerful example of family-centered paediatric health care research and the relevance and strong development of family advisory in Canada.  

I was present for only one of Sasha's later applications of anesthetic and deeply appreciated this involvement although there was no prior prep or discussion. On earlier occasions when we were not invited, I found the hand over of Sasha to a nurse very disconcerting, like I was deserting her. An anesthesiologist at SickKids, in describing why he wanted parental presence at induction characterized the scene as follows: “A stranger picks you up and takes you away and puts a mask over your face and you wake up in pain." The doctor also felt in cases of separated parents, where the child wanted both parents involved, that an exception to the one parent rule be strongly considered.


  1. I'm soooo glad you shared this report and addressed this issue. I've written a related post on the BLOOM blog and linked here.


    I look forward to reading more here about Sasha and your family's experiences and ongoing efforts to improve care.

    Thanks again. Cheers, Louise

  2. Hi Louise, thanks for sharing your and Ben's experience and I was struck by the idea of a less intimidating induction room. It would be interesting to see if it has been piloted and if, in addition to parental presence, there are operating rooms that are looking at other ways to make the experience less intimidating generally. Perhaps a portable screen with kid friendly decoration if set around the child, parent and a couple staff could shield equipment, add a fig leaf of privacy and lessen the child's anxiety?

    Glad to meet virtually and look forward to meeting in person at the CFAN workshop in October.

    Cheers, Jonathan

  3. Hi Jonathan -- I would love to hear from an anesthetist on this topic -- to hear their perspective.

    I posted a question on the pediatric anesthesia forum at SickKids, but so far no replies. If you know an anesthetist at SickKids who might like to provide a response I could post on BLOOM, that would be wonderful. We've had a number of parents respond -- it's interesting how varied the practices are. One mom speaks about a positive experience just this week at Johns Hopkins. See you in Oct! Louise