The Lord's Work
For Adam Schow (BA ’95), a pediatric anesthesiologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, administering anesthesia is more than simply putting a child to sleep with flavored anesthesia gases. “The goal for the child, first and foremost, is safety,” Schow explains. “But the second goal, for me, is to relieve their pain and their anxiety.”
When children come into the operating room, they are often nervous about the strange environment. They are probably hungry because of the pre-operation fast. They may be in pain. “There’s a whole host of reasons they could be both hurting and upset,” Schow says. While there are many ways anesthesiologists can comfort and distract an anxious child, Schow draws upon his vast collection of children’s songs to calm the children as they drift off to sleep.
“Sometimes they like the songs—or sometimes, if they’re a little older, they laugh because they think I’m ridiculous,” Schow says. “But I have no shame in it. It’s not a performance—it’s all about distraction so the child doesn’t feel anxious.”
Schow administers anesthesia for children undergoing a variety of procedures, from major surgery to GI scopes to MRI scans. “Children are innocent, and so they’re deserving of our most dear attention and care,” Schow explains. “You feel like you’re doing the Lord’s work by taking care of the little children.”