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We provide sedation and anesthesia for a wide range of surgical and diagnostic procedures.
What we do

The Department of Pediatric Anesthesia cares for children of all ages with many different medical conditions. Our team of anesthesiologists (medical doctors) provides sedation and anesthesia for a wide range of surgical and diagnostic procedures. We are also experts in pain management and critical care.

We provide this care in a variety of locations throughout the hospital and across the city, including the operating room, the Radiology Department, the Burn Unit, the Intensive Care Unit and the BC Cancer.

Our goal is to give your child a safe and comfortable anesthetic. All of our anesthesiologists have special training in anesthesia for children. They work together with anesthesia assistants and nurses to keep your child safe and comfortable during your child’s surgery or procedure.

Helpful information

About anesthesia

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Anesthesia or deep sedation is a special state of sleep that prevents feeling (sensation) and memory during the surgery or procedure. The medication works by slowing down the nerve cells in the brain.  The anesthetic is stopped when the procedure is done, allowing your child to wake up.

Anesthesia can be given in several ways. It can be given into an intravenous (IV) tube placed in a vein usually in your child’s hand. We place the IV after the skin has been numbed with a special cream, and while we distract your child. Once we give the medicine, your child will fall asleep very quickly.
Anesthesia can also be given as a gas through a clear plastic mask. The gas does not hurt but has a different smell. The anesthesiologist will discuss with you which anesthetic will be best for your child.
After your child is asleep, the anesthesiologist may also consider injecting local anesthetic (or "freezing") near the area of your child’s surgery. We do this to help your child be comfortable when they wake up. We will discuss these options with you before your child goes into the operating room. 

An anesthesiologist, sometimes also referred to as an anesthetist, is a type of specialized medical doctor.  After graduating from medical school, the training lasts for at least another five years.

Pediatric anesthesiologists receive extra training to help take care of the smallest and most complicated children.

This is a very common question, and probably stems from a time (40+ years ago) when undergoing anesthesia and surgery was much riskier than it is now.  Modern anesthesia is very safe thanks to better technology and research.  Allergies to anesthesia are extremely rare, and ‎our rates of complications are very low.  

There have been recent studies which have questioned how anesthesia affects a child's brain growth.  While many studies are still ongoing, the current data available reassuringly show no effect on a child's development from a single anesthetic at a young age.  More information on this subject is available here:

There are some minor side effects your child may have after an anesthetic, including sore throat, dizziness, or drowsiness.

Your child's anesthesiologist will be happy to discuss any questions you have.  Please ask!

‎It is important to talk to your child about going to the hospital and about the procedure (surgery).

  • If your child is less than four years old, talk to them two to three days before the procedure.  Talk to them again on the morning of the procedure.
  • If your child is over four years old, begin talking with them about the procedure a few weeks beforehand.
Children who are well prepared for their procedure will have less anxiety & distress, and will recover better after their procedure.  If your child has a particular fear, it will be helpful to tell us that concern when you arrive so we can address it with your child.

Follow the instructions you receive, especially about what your child can eat or drink before the procedure.  If you cannot remember the instructions please call the Preanesthesia Clinic at 604-875-3912 for assistance.

For more information on how to speak with and prepare your child, please go to

The Child Life Dept. at BCCH has excellent resources on preparing your child for their visit to BCCH.  One example is this book to help kids prepare for surgery.  

Their website can be reached by clicking here.

A PDF of the information on this webpage can be downloaded here:  Anesthesia webpage parental summary.pdf


Our team

Department Head

  • Dr. Simon Whyte

Department Members

  • Dr. Mark Ansermino
  • Dr. Katherine Bailey
  • Dr. Michael Barker
  • Dr. Nigel Barker
  • Dr. Natasha Broemling
  • Dr. Zoë Brown
  • Dr. Myles Cassidy
  • Dr. James Chen
  • Dr. Chris Chin
  • Dr. Michelle Correia
  • Dr. Lynnie Correll
  • Dr. Yvonne Csanyi-Fritz
  • Dr. Erica Dibb-Fuller
  • Dr. Caitlin Gallagher
  • Dr. Heng Gan
  • Dr. Prakash Krishnan
  • Dr. Kat Lanigan
  • Dr. Gillian Lauder
  • Dr. Stephan Malherbe
  • Dr. Andrew Morrison
  • Dr. Christa Morrison
  • Dr. Cheryl Peters
  • Dr. Randa Ridgway
  • Dr. Louis Scheepers
  • Dr. Mary-Claire Simmonds
  • Dr. Teresa Skelton
  • Dr. Brendan Smith
  • Dr. Michael Traynor

Clinical Fellows

  • Dr. Rory Blackler
  • Dr. Victoria Buswell
  • Dr. Anna Ratcliffe
  • Dr. Nancy Wang

Acute Pain Nurse Practitioner

  • Kathleen Duddy

Anesthesia Assistants

  • Peter Baxter
  • Inder Bhullar
  • Jess Chen
  • Trevor Coelho
  • Bill Cooper
  • Jagvir Dosanjh
  • Julie Folka
  • Jasmeen Gill
  • Brandy Meyers
  • Carrie Schulthess
  • Theresa Tien

Research Team

  • Dr. Matthias Görges, PhD
  • Nicholas West
  • Bianca Vizcaino
  • Steffanie Fisher

Administrative assistants

  • Yvonne Hardwicke
  • Tanya Chan-Chiang

Professional resources

Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship

Click here for further information about the fellowship

Department members emeritus

  • Dr. Micah Burns
  • Dr. Clayton Reichert
  • Dr. Norbert Froese
  • Dr. Eleanor Reimer
  • Dr. Robert Purdy
  • Dr. Lindsay McMillan
  • Dr. Richard Lee
  • Dr. Raymond Kahwaji
  • Dr. Carolyne Montgomery
  • Dr. Gerry Goresky
  • Dr. Cathy Stephenson
  • Dr. Gerry O'Connor (2009)
  • Dr. Michael Smith (2008)
  • Dr. Terry Chan (2006)
  • Dr. David Rosen (2005)
  • Dr. Robin Barley (2003)
  • Dr. Susan Goobie (2003)
  • Dr. Joan Bevan (2002)
  • Dr. Derek Blackstock (2001)
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