Tonsillectomy is one of the most common procedures kids and teenagers get. But any time a parent is told their child needs surgery, it’s understandable to be worried. Add in the COVID-19 pandemic, and the anxiety goes up even more. Simone Hardeman-Jones and Christopher Jones know this first hand.
In 2020, Simone and Christopher started noticing their son, 3-year-old Leo, was having trouble swallowing, trouble breathing and was choking frequently. Simone’s brother in law, who’s a doctor at another health care system, recommended Simone and Christopher bring her son to Children’s Minnesota. At the initial appointment, the physicians discovered Leo’s tonsils were unusually large and had to be removed.
“The doctors immediately agreed that [they] had not seen tonsils this large in a child. A physician’s assistant who saw him had a student with her and said ‘This is a good case because you won’t see it again,’” said Simone.
Leo had his tonsillectomy in mid-December 2020, at the height of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. For the safety of staff and other patient families, only one parent could be with Leo at the hospital. Simone and Christopher understood the reason why and agreed mom would go with Leo. But knowing they wouldn’t be able to be there for each other and for Leo added more stress to the situation. The surgery team at Children’s Minnesota understood Simone’s concerns and took the time to make her feel comfortable.
“The reassurance, support and care from staff made a world of difference and put me at ease so I could be there for Leo. It can be such a scary situation when your toddler is having surgery.” said Simone.
It wasn’t just Simone who appreciated the care. Leo liked the toys he got to play with and watching Paw Patrol.
Leo’s surgery went well and Simone didn’t have to wait long for an update. “The surgeon came out right away to tell me Leo did well—that made such a huge difference,” said Simone.
Aftercare at home
Fortunately, Leo was able to go on the same day he had surgery. But a short time later, he wasn’t eating or drinking. Simone called the hospital to learn options on how to get her son to eat and drink. Simone says her questions were answered and the team supported bringing Leo back in if that’s what she felt.
Months after surgery and Leo is doing great and full of energy. He’s running and ready for a summer of fun. Even he notices something is difference after his visit to Children’s Minnesota. “He was eating strawberries and said ‘These aren’t getting stuck in my throat anymore,’” said Simone.
From the initial recommendation, to surgery and then recovery Simone is glad the family made the decision to come to Children’s Minnesota for her son’s surgery.
Children’s Minnesota Level I Pediatric Surgery Center
Very few surgery programs in the country can meet the national quality and safety standards that allow them to be recognized as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center. Level I is the highest level of distinction awarded by the American College of Surgeons for health systems that perform routine to complex surgical procedures in newborns, children and teens