Surgical Services

Paediatric Surgical and Trauma Services is provided by the Department of Surgery and Trauma at the John Hunter Children's Hospital..

The Paediatric Surgical Unit at the John Hunter Children's Hospital is a designated level 6 centre in New South Wales for Paediatric Surgery, along with The Children's Hospital at Westmead, and Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick. The unit is also one of three designated major Paediatric trauma centres in NSW.



Paediatric Surgical Outreach Service

Outreach Services are held in Port Macquarie, Taree, Muswellbrook, Maitland, Tamworth and Coffs Harbour. Medical and nursing education programs are facilitated and telephone consultations are conducted in most outreach centres as far north as Armidale.

Paediatric Emergency Services

John Hunter Children's Hospital is an approved Level 1 major Paediatric trauma centre, which utilises a team approach to care for injured children.

A separate paediatric emergency section is provided within the emergency department, including specially equipped paediatric resuscitation bays to treat injured children.

Injured children may be transferred by helicopter, fixed wing aircraft or road ambulance. When notification is received by the Paediatric Emergency Department that an injured child is to arrive, the paediatric trauma team is activated through a paging system.

The trauma response team is available 24 hours a day and consists of an emergency physician, surgical registrar, and a member of the Anaesthetic and Intensive Care Unit team.

Our specially trained paediatric emergency department and trauma nurses are an integral part of the team. Treatment of the injured child by the paediatric trauma team is supplemented by a broad range of services including specialists in paediatric orthopaedics, radiology, neurosurgery, vascular surgery, orofaciomaxillary and ear, nose and throat surgery who work as a team to manage these injured children.

Surgical Services

The Paediatric Surgical Unit deals with a range of surgical procedures required in children. The unique physiology and anatomy of the young patient is recognised and incorporated in the management of the child with a surgical condition.

Outpatient consultations occur at the John Hunter Children's Hospital usually following a referral from the patient's local GP, Paediatrician or other specialist. Antenatal consultations are also available if required by the obstetric team.

The Day Stay ward facilitates treatment for many elective surgical problems in children without the necessity of an overnight stay in hospital. This spares the child any unnecessary hospitalisation and permits convalescence at home. A visit to the Day Stay ward prior to the scheduled procedure, usually at the time of booking allows the child and parents a chance to become familiar with the ward and to learn what to expect on the day of the operation.

For parents requiring to stay overnight and longer, every effort is made to make the child as comfortable as possible. One parent is encouraged to sleep in with the child.

The Paediatric Surgical Unit specialises in Neonatal Surgery for the correction and treatment of newborn congenital anomalies with the support of an excellent neonatal team in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Paediatric Urology, Paediatric Oncologic Surgery, the surgical treatment of Paediatric Gastrointestinal Diseases, and traumatically injured children are all areas we operate in.

Advanced minimally invasive surgery techniques are available for infants, children and adolescents. Laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery benefits children by decreasing post-operative pain and complications, creating very small incisions with minimal scarring, a faster recovery time and a shorter stay in hospital.

Surgeons and Team

Dr John Cassey Paediatric surgeon & Paediatric Urologist (Visiting Medical Officer)
Prof Trish Davidson Staff Specialist Paediatric surgeon
Dr Rajendra Kumar Staff Specialist Paediatric surgeon
Dr Gerard Roy Staff Specialist Paediatric surgeon
Dr Ani Deshpande Staff Specialist Paediatric surgeon/Urologist
Prof Eric Ho Staff Specialist Paediatric Orthopaedic surgeon
Dr Scott Nightingale Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist
Ms Kerri Sullivan  Clinical Nurse Consultant - Paediatric Surgery, including Paediatric Burn and Wound Management
Ms Elizabeth Notaras Nurse Practitioner - Gastroenterology
Mr Michael Lawler Community Nurse
Mrs Cheryl Dennis Clinical Nurse Consultant - Paediatric Surgical Outreach


What happens before surgery?

Parents arrive with their children for surgery on Ward J2 (Day stay).  Appropriate fasting times would have been explained prior to arrival.  You will be met by the nursing team on the ward and prepared for theatre which includes being admitted, weighed, and given medications if required.

The surgical team will attend your child and check consent is obtained and the surgical site is marked when required and answer any questions you may have. The anaesthetic team will also attend and ensure your child is ready for the anaesthetic.  They will usually talk about recovery from the anaesthetic and pain relief.

One parent is allowed to be with the child in the anaesthetic room while the child is anaesthetised. Carers will then be shown where to wait outside the operating theatre where you will be met by the surgical team after the operation is finished.

What happens after surgery?

After surgery your child will go to the recovery ward with one parent brought in to be with your child prior to going back to the day stay ward (J2) or if staying overnight to ward J1 or J2.

From there once recovery is complete your nurse will discharge your child with all relevant postoperative information including incision care, pain relief, medications and follow up appointments.

Hand hygiene

To reduce the risk of infection for your child we ask all parents and visitors to wash their hands every time they enter the wards.

Contact us

John Hunter Switch (02)49 213000
Ward J1 (02)49 213312
Ward J2 (02)49 213933