FAQ: Pediatric Surgery

Here are answers to common questions about your child’s surgery.

What if my child eats or drinks on the day of surgery?

Call us immediately at 503-418-5600 . Eating or drinking anything before surgery could affect your child’s safety.

Learn about eating and drinking restrictions before surgery.

What if my child feels sick before surgery?

Call us right away.

  • Before 4:30 p.m., call your surgeon’s clinic.
  • After 4:30 p.m., call 503-418-5600.

How long will my child be at the hospital?

Your child may go home the same day or need to spend a few days in the hospital. Your surgeon will let you know what to expect during your pre-operative visit.

Can I be with my child when anesthesia is given?

The operating/procedure rooms are restricted areas for safety, patient privacy and infection prevention reasons. You will be with your child as much as possible. The night before, explain to your child that they will be separated from you for the procedure and initially once in recovery, but will be reunited with you as soon as possible. Let your child know that their care team will be with them every step of the way.

Before going to the operating room, your child may be given medicine to help them relax.

Please note that parents are not allowed into the operating room, which is where your child will fall completely asleep under general anesthesia.

The anesthesiologist will visit with you before your child goes to the operating room to explain your child’s anesthesia plan. This is a great time for you and your child to ask questions.

How long will the surgery take?

It depends on the complexity of the surgery. Your surgeon will discuss with you how long it’s expected to take. Times can change if an earlier surgery lasts longer than expected or if your surgeon is called to an emergency.

How will I know when my child is out of surgery?

A color-coded tracker board in the waiting room lets you know when your child is in surgery and when they’re in recovery. Each child gets a special code number to keep you informed at all times.

If you leave the waiting room, you can enter the code into our online surgical wait board to stay informed.

One of our team members will text you with updates during surgery.

Can I be with my child when they wake up?

You’ll be reunited with your child as soon as it's safe to do so. We keep the time you are separated as short as possible.

What if my child is staying in the hospital?

Your child will be in the recovery room until the anesthesia wears off. Then we will move your child to a hospital patient room.

Can I stay overnight with my child?

We encourage you to stay with your child. Our patient rooms have an extra single bed for you to sleep in.

If my child is staying overnight after surgery, can we go to the room first?

You can go to the room as soon as it becomes available. This is often not until after surgery.

Can my other children stay overnight?

Siblings cannot spend the night and are not allowed in surgical areas. We ask that you make child-care plans for your other children on the day of surgery. 

Can I use my cellphone and computer inside the hospital?

Doernbecher offers free Wi-Fi access, so cellphones and laptops can be used throughout the hospital, including lobbies, patient rooms and waiting rooms.

Is eating allowed in the waiting room?

No. There may be children waiting for procedures or surgery who aren’t allowed to eat or drink. This is also important for infection prevention. We have many other places where you can eat at the hospital.

For families

Call 503-346-0640 to

  • Request an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions


Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
700 S.W. Campus Drive, eighth floor
Portland, OR 97239

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