Paediatric Hernia Surgery: Ella’s Story
“Our five-year-old Ella had two hernias, one umbilical hernia that she was born with and one that developed later that started to get swollen and sensitive,” remembers Ella’s mom Lauren. “When the second one started to get more serious, our doctor recommended hernia surgery.”
Lauren and Ella had a video-consultation in March with Dr. Sharifa Himidan, a SickKids surgeon and Director of the partnership between SickKids and Humber River Hospital. The partnership allows SickKids general surgeons to operate in Humber’s state-of-the-art operating rooms and gives their young patients access to our renowned Child Life Program.
“We booked Ella’s surgery really quickly once surgeries started to re-open before school started,” says Lauren. “Her COVID test was fast and easy, and a few days later we arrived at Humber in our masks for surgery.”
Lauren was a little apprehensive that they hadn’t had much time to prepare Ella, but was immediately put at ease by Alex, the Child Life Specialist who would be there with them every step of the way.
“From the minute we checked in, Alex guided Ella through the whole process,” says Lauren. “Ella brought her own stuffed bunny, and Alex used the bunny to show her everything that would happen. She showed her how to use a stethoscope on the bunny, and how the anaesthesia mask would go on the bunny’s face.”
Ella also got to meet Pepper, a humanoid robot that helps our Child Life Specialists decrease patient anxiety, increase their comfort, and educate young patients and their families. Alex used Pepper to teach Ella about her surgery in a fun way.
As a parent, Lauren was able to enter the operating room with Ella and stay with her until her anaesthesia took effect. Alex had prepared Lauren on what to expect in the operating room and continued to coach and comfort her the whole time.
“Alex prepared us both for Ella’s surgery in such a loving and nurturing way,” says Lauren.
Once Lauren left the room, she received text updates about Ella’s surgery straight to her phone, thanks to STERIS RealView technology. And, when Ella’s surgery was complete, Lauren was brought into the post-anaesthesia care unit early, so that she could be by her side as she was waking up.
“From start to finish, the care at Humber River Hospital was unbelievable,” says Lauren. “All of the staff were amazing and Ella has healed from surgery beautifully – she loves her new bellybutton!”