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The Transfer of Care

Rodriguez, Samuel MD

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000592
The Open Mind: The Open Mind

From the Department of Pediatric Anesthesia, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Palo Alto, California.

Accepted for publication November 4, 2014.

Funding: Project was supported by the Department of Pediatric Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Management at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Reprints will not be available from the author.

Address correspondence to Samuel Rodriguez, MD, Department of Pediatric Anesthesia, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, 300 Pasteur Dr., Palo Alto, CA 94305. Address e-mail to

The field of pediatric anesthesia is a field of trust. Multiple times a day, parents hand over their children to health care providers who they might just be meeting for the first time. The preoperative interaction with the anesthesiologist is often brief and frequently feels hurried but is rivaled by few other human interactions in terms of intensity. For children and parents, this can be the most stressful moment of their entire lives, and the physician has a responsibility to convey empathy, competence, and humility to the family while simultaneously attempting to console or distract young patients. This incredibly delicate conversation is a balance of conveying risk while providing reassurance.

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This painting depicts an image that attempts to convey to trainees and other viewers what it is we do in pediatric anesthesia on a daily basis. As a resident or fellow, we often focus on the technical aspects of the field: inhaled inductions, age-appropriate vital signs, weight-based dosing of medications, challenging vascular access, etc. Although these skills are an important part of the pediatric anesthesiologist’s job, it is the psychosocial aspects that are often the most challenging and take the longest to learn. It was for this reason that I chose to create a painting of a preoperative scene depicting the moment where a family hands over their child to the anesthesia team. The medical and technical details are intentionally omitted. We get no clues to the diagnosis or the procedure that is about to take place. All the viewer is left with is a look between a mother and the physician who is about to take her child away.

Figure 1

Figure 1

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Name: Samuel Rodriguez, MD.

Contribution: This author is the sole author of the manuscript and the artist who created the painting.

Attestation: Samuel Rodriguez attests to reviewing the final manuscript and maintaining records for the manuscript.

This manuscript was handled by: Steven L. Shafer, MD.

© 2015 International Anesthesia Research Society