We Heal for Them

The Palm Beach Children’s Hospital’s staff of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals is trained in pediatric medical treatment and understands the key differences between adults and kids.

The Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center features:

  • 24-hour dedicated pediatric emergency department
  • Level I pediatric trauma center, the highest state designation
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with intensivists in-house 24/7
  • Pediatric hospitalists in-house 24/7
  • Advanced imaging technology designed to provide quicker images and emit less radiation
  • Pediatric rehabilitation, including audiology, physical, occupational and speech therapies


We are also proud to be verified as a Level II Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Children’s Surgery Verification (CSV) Quality Improvement Program, an established verification and quality improvement program designed to optimize the delivery of children’s surgical care. 

We’re here to Help

Hearing that your child needs surgery is never easy, but having an idea of what to expect ahead of time can make the process less stressful for you and your child. We’ll do everything we can to help guide you through this experience while remaining as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

This brochure is designed to serve as a starting point for your preparation, but we also suggest arranging a Pre-Op Surgical Tour with our Child Life specialists and nursing staff at the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital.

Before Your Child’s Surgery:

  • Read any information your doctors or nurses may give you and follow their instructions carefully.
  • Plan to take the day of your child’s surgery off from work. Your child needs you, and you’re required to be at the hospital during surgery so our staff can reach you at all times.
  • Arrange for someone to care for other children in the home the day of the surgery. You’ll need to accompany your child to parts of the hospital where other children aren’t permitted.
  • Find out the best route between your home and the Kimmel Surgical Center, and save the directions in your navigation system if you have one. (You may want to drive the route ahead of time.)
  • Make sure your child does NOT eat or drink anything after midnight on the evening before surgery.

A nurse will call before your child’s surgery to take a medical history, provide instructions and answer any questions you may have. Many parents wonder about anesthesia and the effects it may have on their children. After a thorough examination, our pediatric anesthesiologists will discuss with you which type of anesthesia may be best suited for your child

The Day of Your Child’s Surgery

  • Plan to arrive at the scheduled time.
  • Bring a few books, toys and portable games to occupy your child during waiting periods. Unexpected emergencies may occur throughout our hospital, so we appreciate your patience in the event of a delay.

After surgery, your doctor will come to speak with you. While you may be told ahead of time how long the surgery is likely to take, please remember that this is only an estimate. Allow 30 to 40 minutes for your child to recover from the anesthesia and be transferred to the recovery room.

You’ll be able to see your child once he or she is awake. The time may vary, as each child is different, but please be assured that a nurse will come to you at the appropriate time.

Remember that although most patients experience some discomfort after surgery, we’ll do all we can to ease your child’s pain with appropriate medication and a caring approach.

After your Child’s Surgery

  • Follow the specific instructions you receive regarding when your child may return to school and what activities to avoid.
  • Read and follow all written discharge instructions and schedule a follow-up appointment after you go home.

Pediatric Anesthesia

When children need surgery or some other complicated treatment, they may need to go under anesthesia during the procedure. However, children have different requirements when it comes to sedative medications. Their bodies are more sensitive to the effects of anesthesia and they can get overwhelmed when they face a medical procedure.

At the same time, it is important that your child is relaxed, comfortable and stays very still during the procedure in order to obtain the best possible images or result. Sedation medication can make this possible. Your child will feel relaxed and drowsy, and she won’t feel any pain during the procedure or remember it afterwards.

The Pediatric Sedation Program at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital is designed to provide our pediatric patients with the individual, specialized care and medications needed to alleviate both physical pain and emotional anxieties. To make sure your child gets the right type and dosage of anesthesia, our team of skilled pediatric anesthesiologists performs detailed screening and continuous monitoring before, during and after the procedure.

The Child Life Program

Child Life Specialists at the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital are hospital ambassadors, educators, advocates and a personal support system for our patients and their families. They help prepare patients for and distract them during procedures, offer coping skills and provide tools to help make the hospital experience more positive. In attempts to normalize the hospital environment, the Child Life team also provides bedside activities and special events.

To learn more about our Child Life team, click here.

Arranging a Pre-Op Tour

Once your child is scheduled for surgery, it may be comforting to actually meet the staff and see the atmosphere beforehand, so you and your child know what to expect. On your tour, you’ll both be guided through the surgical area and the children’s hospital. Child Life Specialists are educated and trained in child development, meaning they can help prepare your child for surgery with age appropriate demonstration, education and play.

This tour is recommended for parents with children 3+ years old. To schedule, please call (561) 882-6334. If you are unable to schedule a Pre-Op Tour, a Child Life Specialist can provide online resources and preparation materials.

The Kimmel Surgical Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center is located off Greenwood Avenue. You’ll find us just to the left of the pediatric emergency room and the adult emergency room.

Surgery Virtual Tour

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