Travel safely after sedation or anesthesia
ometimes your child will need to in a car or a plane, you might not be issues, talk to the doctor who gives
stay very still or even go to sleep able to get help right away. anesthesia to find out when your
during a procedure or surgery. To keep your child safe, the child can safely leave the St. Jude
To help your child relax and feel no hospital asks you not to travel until campus.
pain, the staff will give one of two a certain amount of time has passed There are stricter guidelines for
kinds of sleeping medicine. One is after your child receives anesthesia or infants, especially those born prema-
called anesthesia; the other is called a a sedative. turely. The doctor or nurse will
sedative. After a minor procedure discuss those with you.
Sedatives and anesthesia can stay There are many different minor
in your child’s system for 24 hours procedures including an MRI, CT
or more. During this time, your child scan, nuclear medicine scan, radia-
may: tion therapy, some eye procedures,
• Have problems breathing; a lumbar puncture, a bone marrow
• Not be able to function properly; biopsy, a PICC line placement or Housing is provided
or subcutaneous port removal. If you need to stay in town for the
• Become distressed or upset. Following a minor procedure, your night because of the travel restric-
When your child needs help, every child can travel by car after discharge tions mentioned above, St. Jude will
second counts. If any of these things from the recovery area. However, provide your family with housing.
happen while your child is traveling before flying in an airplane your child Like you, the St. Jude staff puts your
must spend at least four hours on the child’s safety first. If waiting a little
St. Jude campus after being released longer to leave Memphis means that
from the recovery area. you and your child will return home
After a major procedure/surgery safely, it will be time well spent.
Major procedures and surgeries To learn more about anesthesia and
involve a cut in the skin and other sedation and the guidelines for travel,
tissues. Examples include placing a ask for a copy of the new handout
central venous line or removing deep “Do You Know… Travel after Seda-
tissue organ samples. tion or Anesthesia.”
After a major procedure or surgery,
your child will be admitted to the
hospital or will be required to stay in
St. Jude housing or in the Memphis
Transplant Unit has
area for the first night. stricter guidelines
If your child has severe health than other areas
problems such as heart or breathing
In case you haven’t heard, visit-
NPO guidelines recently revised ing guidelines and infection control
policies for the Transplant Unit are
If your child must be completely still for a surgery or procedure, the staff much stricter than they are for other
will probably give sleeping medicine called anesthesia or sedation. Patients St. Jude inpatient units and clinics.
who have full stomachs when taking anesthesia or sedation are at risk of At certain times during the transplant
getting food or liquid in their lungs during the procedure. This could cause process, these patients are at even
pneumonia or other serious health problems. For this reason, the hospital has a greater risk for infection than pa-
policy that gives a timeline for when your child should stop eating and drink- tients who have not had a transplant.
ing before a surgery or procedure. The policy is called NPO, which is short for For the safety of all transplant pa-
the Latin words nil per os, meaning “nothing by mouth.” tients, please read “Do You Know…
St. Jude has recently updated the NPO policy and the handouts that explain Transplant Unit Guidelines” if your
this policy to patient families. The two handouts that explain this policy are child is placed on the Transplant
called “Do You Know… NPO – No Food/Drink Before Surgery” and “Do Unit.
You Know… NPO – No Food/Drink Before Non-Surgical Procedures.” Outpatients should never visit
To follow the correct NPO guidelines, it is important for you to know the inpatient rooms, and patients should
kind of procedure your child will have – surgery, PET scan, another non-surgi- enter the Transplant Unit only if they
cal test or procedure. You also need to know what kind of sleeping medicine are assigned to that unit. If you have
your child will receive – general anesthesia, IV sedation or sedation by mouth. questions about St. Jude visiting
To learn more, ask your child’s nurse for a copy of the NPO Do You Know policies, please talk to your child’s
handout when your child is going to have anesthesia or sedation. doctor or nurse.
Second floor construction update
For several months in 2010, the construction began the first week in
St. Jude staff looked at the safety and November.
efficiency of the areas used for pre- For this construction to be possible,
paring medicines on the Patient Care all patients on these units had to be
Center (PCC) second floor. These moved. During the past few weeks,
areas are part of the Leukemia/ the Leukemia/Hematology Unit
Hematology Unit and the Solid (normally 2 North) has been on the
Tumor/Neuro-Oncology Unit. The Patient Care Center fourth floor, and
staff had three main goals in their the Solid Tumor/Neuro-Oncology
review: Unit has been located on the north
• To ensure patient safety by creat- end of the second floor.
ing areas for nurses to prepare All construction should be com-
medicines that are as free from plete by February 23. At that time,
distractions as possible the Solid Tumor/Neuro-Oncology
• To make sure that St. Jude follows Unit will return to 2 South and the
all regulatory agency rules Leukemia/Hematology Unit will
• To improve the overall workflow return to 2 North.
on the units The staff thanks all patient families
One result of this review was a plan in advance for their patience and
to build a medicine preparation room understanding during this time. If you
on each “pod” of the second floor. have concerns during these moves
That means two medicine prep rooms or during construction, please talk to
per unit. the inpatient coordinator, manager or
This plan was approved, and director.
J-Tip reduces needlestick pain fast
Some treatments, such as starting an IV or putting a needle in a port,
are painful. Whenever possible, your child should have the option of
reducing this pain as much as possible. One way to feel less pain from
needles is to numb the skin before a needle is put into the skin.
At St. Jude, the staff can use a medicine called lidocaine to numb
your child’s skin. Lidocaine has been available in a cream (L·M·X4™)
for many years, but it can take more than 30 minutes to numb the skin.
Now there is a new way to give lidocaine within one minute. It is called
the J-Tip®. The J-Tip® is a needle-free device that uses high-pressure
gas to push the medicine (lidocaine) into the top layer of skin. Your
child needs to know that the J-Tip® makes a loud “hissing” or “popping”
noise like opening a soda can. Both lidocaine cream and the J- Tip® will
numb the skin for about 90 minutes.
Lidocaine cream and the J-Tip® cannot be used by anyone who is al-
lergic to lidocaine (xylocaine) or other local anesthetics (pain relievers).
To learn more about the J-Tip® and numbing the skin with lidocaine,
ask for a copy of the handout “Using Lidocaine to Reduce Needlestick
St. Jude Parents is published on the first of
each month by Patient Education and Bio-
medical Communications. Your questions and
comments are important to us. We want to
print advice and tips from St. Jude parents
to other St. Jude parents. To share your
ideas or to receive this newsletter by e-mail,
For the latest details on upcoming please call or e-mail Alicia Huettel, RN,
events, see the bulletin board in MSN, at 901-595-5453 (parents_newsletter@
stjude.org) or Lois Young (loislane.young@
the Patient Care Center lobby near
Patient Registration. St. Jude is an Equal Opportunity Employer.