Childhood Cancer

Your Child in the Hospital

Preventing pain during procedures

Most hospitals administer local anesthetic, temporary sedation, or general anesthesia prior to painful procedures (e.g., spinal tap). If these are not offered, you can request them. Discuss with your doctor and anesthesiologist which method will work best for your child.

The ideal pain relief drug for children should be easy to administer, have minimal and predictable effects, provide adequate pain relief, and last for a short time. Pain medication for procedures can be given by IV, on the skin, by mouth, and even by lollipop.

My son was in pediatric intensive care with a fractured skull from a bike accident. They had him sedated but I didn’t think they were giving him adequate pain medication. He was unconscious but still crying. The nurse called the doctor but couldn’t get the instructions changed. I asked her to note on the chart, “Parent demands to meet with doctor to discuss pain management.” In the morning, in walked a new doctor who said, “Hello, my name is Dr. S., I have rewritten the orders to eliminate the sedation and increase his pain meds.” Problem solved.

Sedation and general anesthesia can result in complications. A board certified anesthesiologist should handle the sedation or anesthesia, and your child should be closely monitored until she is fully awake.