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Patients' Guide to Surgery: Children

Welcome to New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. Thank you for trusting us to care for your child. We take pride in providing the highest quality care to all of our patients. The following information will help your family plan and prepare for your child’s surgery.

Children coming for “ambulatory” or “outpatient” surgery means that your child is having a minor surgical procedure that doesn’t usually require an overnight stay at the hospital.

An inpatient surgery is when your child stays in the hospital for at least one night after surgery until ready to go home. Many of the patient instructions will be the same for both types of procedures.

Our goal is to ensure your experience at NYEE is as pleasant, safe, and stress-free as possible. Please take some time to review the following pages to learn more about what to expect during your child’s stay. It is also necessary to complete relevant paperwork and testing before arriving at the hospital. This will help to minimize delays on the day of your child’s surgery. If you have any questions about the upcoming surgery, please do not hesitate to ask your physician or any member of the care team. We encourage parents and guardians to take an active role in their child’s care.

If you have any questions regarding preoperative instructions, please call the Ambulatory Surgery Center at 212-979-4360 or 212-979-4165, Monday through Friday from 7am to 8pm.

If you have questions regarding your insurance coverage, please call the Admitting Office at 212-979-4306.

Thank you for choosing New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.

Patient Rights, Parents Rights and Responsibilities

All patients have certain rights and protections guaranteed by state and federal laws.  These laws help promote the quality and safety of your hospital care. Parents will be given a copy of the Patients' Bill of Rights, according to New York State law. If you have not received one, ask your physician's office, nurse or the registrar in Admitting for a copy. NYEE is compliant with all applicable rules, regulations and laws regarding patients' rights.

Advance Medical Directive

NYEE honors patients' advance directives to the full extent permitted by law. These include living wills, health care proxies and oral statements. If you have an advance medical directive for your child, please bring it with you. An advance directive enables you to give written or oral instructions to doctors and other healthcare professionals regarding the type of medical care you would want or name the person you would wish to make health care decisions for you. You should discuss your intentions with the individual appointed to act on your behalf. At the time of admission, the child’s parent/guardian will receive a copy of the New York State healthcare proxy form.

No Smoking Policy

The New York City Smoke-Free Air Act prohibits smoking on or around healthcare facility grounds. Smoking is prohibited by the staff, patients and visitors in all areas of the hospital.

Preparing for Your Child’s Surgery

Our goal is to ensure you and your child’s stay here is a comfortable and stress-free as possible. If you would like to arrange a tour of our Pediatric Ambulatory Surgery Unit please call 212-979-4246 or email pkutsky@nyee.edu at least one week prior to surgery to make an appointment.

Confirmation of Your Arrival Time

On the day prior to your child’s surgery, you will receive a call from our Admitting Department between the hours of 2pm-7pm to confirm your arrival time. If you have not received a confirmation call by 6pm the night before your surgery, please contact the Admitting Office at 212-979-4306 before 9pm to receive your arrival time. Please make your travel arrangements in advance so that you can arrive on time.

Planning Ahead for the Day of Surgery

A parent or a legal guardian must accompany their child to the hospital.  Bringing other relatives or siblings to the hospital can be difficult to manage and can cause stress. We strongly recommend siblings stay at home and parents make appropriate childcare arrangements. On the day of surgery, your child should bring a favorite toy or book to keep them occupied and help them relax.

A parent or legal guardian must stay at the hospital during surgery. You will be allowed to remain with your child at all times on the unit and in the operating room before anesthesia. During surgery, a waiting room is available for your convenience and comfort. The nursing staff will keep in touch throughout the surgery.

Complete the Consent Form, Pre-Admission Form and Pre-surgical Testing Requirements

You will meet with your child’s physician who will provide instructions and pre-admission forms that must be completed and returned to them. The physician’s office will coordinate with NYEE’s Admitting Office at least 7 days prior to the scheduled surgery. If additional information is needed, NYEE Admitting Office will contact you prior to the surgery.

In advance of your child’s surgery, a complete set of instructions about pre-surgical testing requirements will be given to you by your surgeon. NYEE requires you provide your child’s medical history and the results of a physical examination completed within 30 days prior to the date of their surgery. Your child’s surgeon or primary care provider will arrange for your child’s physical examination and/or any necessary diagnostic tests.

You will meet with the surgeon to discuss the details of the operation prior to the surgery. Before any major medical procedure can be initiated, you will be asked to sign a consent form. Parents and guardians are entitled to a full explanation of their child’s diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis, as well as the risks, benefits and alternatives associated with their care. Please ask questions if you do not understand what is being discussed.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Remember to contact your child’s insurance company 7 to 10 days prior to the date of surgery to advise them of your child’s scheduled surgery and to confirm coverage. Please verify any co-pays and/or deductibles you will have to pay at the time of admission. Parents or guardians should bring their child’s insurance ID card on the day of the surgery. If you have any questions regarding insurance coverage, please call the Admitting Office at 212-979-4306.

Interpreter Services: American Sign Language and Spoken Language Interpretation

To facilitate communications between our patients, family members and healthcare providers, NYEE offers interpreter services using a combination of over-the-phone, video remote, and in-person interpretation. Services are free and available 24 hours a day.  

If your child is coming to NYEE for surgery and have never been here before, your child’s surgeon’s office can request interpreter services when making arrangements for surgery. During your stay, parents of patients can request interpreter services by speaking with hospital staff, or calling 212-979-4093.

What to Tell Your Child’s Physician Prior to Surgery

It is important for you to provide the following information prior to surgery:

  • Does your child have any allergies to foods or medications or dyes used in diagnostic tests?

  • Has your child ever reacted to latex products, such as gloves, rubber balloons or other items?

  • Does your child take medications regularly? This includes over-the-counter medications (e.g., anticoagulants, aspirin and ibuprofen), herbal remedies (e.g., St. John's Wort), nutritional supplements, pain medication and/or prescription medication. Please know the name(s) and dosage(s) of these medication(s). Bring them with you on the day of surgery.

  • Does your child have a pacemaker, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD or AICD) or cardiac stents?

  • Does your child smoke? Drink alcohol? Use recreational or "street" drugs?

  • Does your child have other health problems, such as diabetes, heart problems or high blood pressure?

  • Has your child had surgery before? If so, when?

  • Has your child had anesthesia before? How did they react?

  • Has your child been treated with antibiotics within the last two months?

Pre-operative Instructions

Your surgeon's office may call you prior to the scheduled date of the surgery to review your child’s medical history and preoperative instructions. Please follow all physician’s instructions carefully. If these instructions are not followed, it could result in the cancellation of the surgery.

  • Stop giving your child solid food after 11 pm the night before surgery unless instructed otherwise by your physician.

  • Give your child clear liquids up until 2 hours before the scheduled arrival time at the hospital (i.e. apple juice, Pedialyte, water.)

  • If you are breastfeeding your child, you can breastfeed your baby until 4 hours before the scheduled arrival time at the hospital. If your baby is drinking formula, stop giving your baby formula 6 hours before the scheduled arrival time at the hospital.  DO NOT put cereal in the formula after 11pm.

  • Do not give your child hard candy or lozenges.

  • Tell us if your child has any allergies.

  • If your child takes daily medications, consult with both your internist and surgeon regarding whether they should take them on the day of surgery, and if so, at what time.

  • Bring a list of your child’s medicines and dosages to the hospital. Bring all medication your child may be taking with you in the original pharmacy container.

  • If your child takes anti-depressants, anti-inflammatory medications (such as aspirin or ibuprofen), or anti-coagulants, ask your physician if you should stop them for a period prior to surgery.

  • If your child develops a cough, cold or fever, please call your surgeon immediately.

  • Remove nail polish and nail wrapping from all fingers prior to coming to the hospital.

  • Do not apply any makeup, cream or lotion the day of surgery.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our Ambulatory Surgery Unit nursing staff at 212-979-4360 or 4165, Monday through Friday, 7am to 8pm, or dial the main switchboard at 212-979-4000 and ask them to page the Nursing Supervisor. 

If Your Child Feels Sick Prior to Their Surgery or You Need to Cancel Surgery

If a cold, virus, sore throat, cough, fever, skin rash or other illness develops during the week before your child’s scheduled surgery, please contact your surgeon immediately. He/she will determine whether your child’s procedure should be rescheduled.

If you find it necessary to cancel the surgery due to unforeseen circumstances, please call your physician as soon as possible.

The Day of Your Child’s Surgery

Pre-surgical Forms and Insurance Information

Please complete and bring all the forms that you received in the physician's office, as well as necessary insurance cards, referral and/or authorization forms.

List of Medications and Allergies

Bring a list of all of your child’s medications, times taken and dosages, as well as any vitamins and over-the-counter medications. Also, prepare a list of any known of allergies to medications, foods or other substances. All medications must be in the original pharmacy containers. Please use the My Medication List form to record the information regarding medications and allergies and bring it with you.

Advance Medical Directive

Please bring any documents regarding advance medical directives, such as healthcare proxy form and a living will if necessary.

Proof of Guardianship

All legal guardians of a minor child under the age of 18 or a foster child undergoing surgery must bring all legal/court documentation verifying his or her legal guardianship of the patient. Without legal proof of guardianship, the surgery will have to be rescheduled. All court/legal documents must be originals; copies will not be accepted. The originals will be immediately returned to you. Please also bring your child’s complete Immunization Record.

Dress Comfortably

Dress your child in loose, comfortable clothing that buttons or zips down the front and flat, slip-on shoes. Pack an extra set of clothes if they will be staying overnight. Encourage your child to wear his or her eyeglasses.

Leave Valuables and Personal Belongings at Home

Please leave all valuables including jewelry, watches and earrings at home and remove all body jewelry. NYEE cannot assume responsibility or liability for personal property that is lost or misplaced. Limited locker space will be made available to secure belongings.

Contact lenses, glasses and hearing aids may have to be removed prior to surgery and must be stored in proper containers or can be held by a family member. Do not wrap items in tissues and leave on the bed, meal-tray or on a table unattended.

Checking In on the Day of Surgery

When arriving at NYEE for your child’s procedure, please go to the Admitting Office Reception Desk on the first floor off the main entrance at 310 East 14th Street.  Your child will be checked in and receive a hospital identification (ID) bracelet.

Our staff will provide directions on where to go to prepare for surgery. You can stay with your child during the pre-surgical preparations.

Pediatric Anesthesia

Our experienced Pediatric Anesthesia team will provide your child’s care and do everything possible to make the experience safe, and comfortable.

The anesthesiologist will perform a preoperative evaluation and develop a plan of care that they will discuss with you and your child. We encourage parents to ask questions at any time during the meeting.

Parental presence in the operating room at the time of anesthetic induction is permitted as it helps to ease anxiety. Once your child is asleep, you will be escorted to a waiting area. A member of the pediatric anesthesia team will be with your child throughout the entire surgical procedure.

Recovering From Surgery

After the surgery is over, parents are reunited with their child in the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) or to the Ambulatory Surgery Unit. A nurse will be assigned to monitor your child’s recovery. Please note, siblings are not allowed in the PACU.

After the initial recovery process, you and your child can return to the 9th floor Pediatric Surgery Center to complete their recovery and receive final instructions from the nursing staff prior to discharge. If required, your child will be transferred to a room for an overnight stay.

Post-operative Pain Management

Pain management is an important part of the recovery process. Your child’s physician and nurses will do all they can to ensure your child is as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with the care team.

If your child experiences increasing pain or progressive loss of vision, please call the nurse or physician immediately.

Discharge to Home

Recovery time varies, depending on the procedure and anesthesia that was used. Before going home, a doctor or nurse will explain everything you need to know about caring for your child. We encourage you to ask the care team questions before leaving the hospital to ensure you understand all of the instructions provided.

New York State requires that every patient who has had anesthesia and/or sedation must be escorted home after ambulatory surgery. If you are driving to/from the hospital with your child, it is necessary to have a second adult present in the car who can provide assistance to your child if needed and monitor their condition. It is also advisable for a parent to stay at home with your child for 24-48 hours after surgery to ensure they are progressing well. We also recommend children not return to school or daycare until they are fully recovered.

Please follow the specific discharge instructions provided regarding the medication, rest, activity and any other after-care advice to help the recovery process.

If you have any questions, call the Ambulatory Surgery Center at 212-979-4360 or 212-979-4165 Monday to Friday, 6am to 9pm. For after-hours assistance, call 212-979-4000 and ask to have the nursing supervisor paged.

Prescription Medications

After surgery, your physician may prescribe medications for your child that may be filled at your pharmacy or at the NYEE Pharmacy, located in the outpatient area, first floor, North Building. Please bring your prescription card the day of your child’s surgery.

Paying for Your Child’s Care

Parents or guardians are responsible for deductibles, co-payments and any unpaid portion of the bill. It is the policy of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai to receive payment at the time of service. Parents or guardians will be required to pay for services in advance of their child’s surgery, unless they are fully covered by a commercial insurance carrier, Blue Cross, Medicaid or Medicare.

Parents or guardians must pay in advance for any portion of the fee not covered by their insurance. Medicare pays 80% of the fee, and there is a deductible. The hospital will accept cash, certified checks, MasterCard, VISA, American Express or Discover Card as payment for hospital services.

Please be advised, services received during surgery will result in multiple bills. Other providers (i.e. surgeon, anesthesiologist, radiologist and pathologist) will be submitting a claim to the insurance carrier for services provided to your child. Parents or guardians will be responsible for any outstanding balance not covered by the insurance provider. Please speak with Billing Services at 212-256-3777.

For more information please refer to the Billing and Information section of our website.

Contact Us

Admitting OfficeTel: 212-979-4306

Ambulatory Surgery Unit Nursing StaffTel: 212-979-4360 or 4165

AnesthesiaTel: 212-979-4464

Billing ServicesTel: 212-256-3777

Financial Counseling OfficeTel: 212-979-4306

Interpreter ServicesTel: 212-979-4093

Social Work ServicesTel: 212-979-4390

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