Q: My four-year-old son is scheduled
for an MRI at Bridgeport
Hospital. The doctor says that
my son will be given a medicine
to help him sleep through the
test. Can you tell me more about
Surgeon Mary Lou Gaeta, MD, Section
Chief of Pediatric Hospital
Medicine at the P.T. Barnum
Pediatric Center at Bridgeport
A: As pediatricians, we sometimes wish we could wave a
magic wand or channel some superhero powers to make
everything easier for our patients.
A little magic could certainly come in handy when children
need a test or procedure that may be uncomfortable or
stressful. Some of these tests require stillness (MRIs, CAT
scans, lumbar punctures) or patience (changing a bandage,
removing stitches). As you know, it can be difficult to get
a four-year-old to stay still for longer than a minute or
two on his or her own. Kids are natural wigglers!
Therefore, when a test or procedure requires a child to
hold still, pediatric sedation is often used. These medicines
help children relax, stay in one position and sometimes
fall asleep for the duration of the test or procedure. Some
sedatives also have amnesia effects so a child does not
remember a test.
If sedation is recommended, when you and your son
arrive for the MRI you will meet Bridgeport Hospital’s
specialty pediatric team for our KidEase sedation service.
Our child life specialist and pediatric nurses understand
children’s anxieties and will quickly gauge how your
son is feeling about the test and/or being in the hospital.
They will provide creative, age-appropriate distractions—
bubbles, a video, a special toy or conversation—
to make his experience here as comfortable and as positive
as possible. Our pediatric sedation team of physicians,
nurses and technicians, who specialize in children,
will tailor the medications and procedure to your son’s
age and needs.
You’ll also want to talk to your child about the test or procedure
ahead of time at whatever level he can understand,
explaining that it’s the right thing to do. And reassure him
that you will be nearby.
Working together, we’ll make your son’s experience at
Bridgeport Hospital as easy as possible!
Making Tests and Procedures Easier for Kids
If your child is facing a test or procedure, ask your pediatrician or other specialist about Bridgeport Hospital’s KidEase sedation service. Common tests and procedures for which pediatric sedation is used include:
- CAT Scan
- Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)
- Dressing (bandage) change
- Suture (stitches) removal
- Auditory brainstem response (ABR) hearing test
- Echocardiogram (to see inside the heart)
- Electroencephalogram (to see brain wave patterns)
- Delivering intravenous (IV) medications
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
Your child’s doctor can make arrangements for your family to use the service by calling the P.T. Barnum Pediatric Center at Bridgeport Hospital at 203-384-3250.