Department of Anesthesiology

A Day in the Life: Texas Children's Hospital


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Ashlin Mathew, M.D., CA-3

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As CA-3s, we spend three consecutive months at Texas Children’s Hospital, which is our sole pediatric site. The incredible reputation of Texas Children's is not only sought out by patients in the surrounding region, but it is a destination for families around the world seeking specialized care. As residents on this rotation, we get to be a part of that!

Most days formally begin with a lecture at 6:15 a.m.—facilitated on Zoom these days out of caution for COVID. Lecture topics have a prescribed section of reading from Coté A Practice of Anesthesiology for Infants and Children, available online via TMC library access, and allow for thoughtful discussions with attendings and other trainees about core topics in pediatric peri-operative care. Cases start at 7:30 a.m. most days, so you come in as needed to prepare for your cases for the day — usually around 6 a.m., to account for lecture time. The unique thing about caring for kids at Texas Children's is you can be in a “simple”. Ophthalmology outpatient room for the day, but have patients whose ages range from less than 1-year old to a legal adult, with medical histories that range from ASA 1 (healthy with no other active medical issues) to ASA 3 (medically complex with lots of organ system pathologies to be mindful of). And the unpredictability of pediatric airways demands a level of attention and acuity no matter how straight forward the case may seem. We also get to be a part of more complex cases such as craniofacial surgeries, multi-level spinal fusions, and even bedside NICU procedures.

This rotation requires you to really hone in all of the skill sets that have been shaped during your first two years of residency. Having a kind, adaptive bedside manner is so important when discussing the anesthetic plan with kids and their families. Facilitating comprehensive multidisciplinary communication between the operative team, peri-operative staff, and Child Life Specialists (your new best friends) is crucial to having a smooth workday. Each day is full and very rewarding, as you build rapport with kids and their families to help make an otherwise fearful experience enjoyable for them. And let’s face it, kids are so much cuter than adults any day of the week.

There are so many wonderful pediatric anesthesiologists we get to work with and learn from in our three months at Texas Children's, with a true focus on our training and well-rounded exposure to pediatric anesthesiology. So whether you’re interested in a pediatric fellowship or not, you’ll leave with a robust, diverse pediatric anesthesiology experience.