Changes, Delays or Cancellation of Procedures or Surgeries

Procedures or surgeries may be cancelled and rescheduled for a variety of reasons.

Unfortunately, there are some times when procedures or surgeries may be cancelled or rescheduled. We know this may be disappointing or frustrating to you and your child. The two things parents can do to lower the chance of the procedure or surgery schedule changes is to:

  1. Follow the no eating and drinking instructions to ensure your child has an empty stomach.
  2. Arrive on time.

If Your Child’s Stomach is Not Empty Before Anesthesia

For your child’s safety, the procedure or surgery may be cancelled or rescheduled if your child has not stopped food and drink as instructed before surgery.

Your child must stop eating and drinking before undergoing anesthesia for a procedure or surgery. There are life threatening safety risks of undergoing anesthesia with food and drink in the stomach. It is critical for your child’s stomach to be empty before the procedure or surgery.

On the night before the procedure or surgery, you must follow the instructions about stopping your child’s food and drink before the procedure or surgery exactly as PARC has instructed you. These instructions are for your child’s safety during the procedure or surgery.

Please ask any questions you have about following these important safety instructions.

General NPO (no eating or drinking) instructions are listed below. A small number of children will receive special guidelines that differ from these.  Follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider.

  1. Stop food and candy at midnight.
  2. Stop formula and milk 6 hours before the procedure.
  3. Stop breast milk 4 hours before the procedure. 
  4. Stop all clear liquids 3 hours before the procedure.

Clear liquids include only water, clear apple juice (no pulp, no apple cider), pedialyte, and Gatorade.

Print these pre-procedure eating and drinking instructions (NPO guidelines): English / Español

If Your Child Arrives Late for the Procedure or Surgery

It is critical that you arrive on time with your child. We are working to reduce wait times and stay on schedule, so we may have to cancel/reschedule your child’s procedure if you arrive late. Please allow an extra 15-30 minutes to park and walk to the Ford Family Surgery Center. You are most welcome to use the free valet parking service and let the attendant park for you. The valet attendants are located at the top of the driveway at the main entrance to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

During the scheduling of your child’s procedure you will be told the time of arrival for your child’s procedure or surgery. If you know you will have difficulty arriving on time or do not remember your arrival time, please call the Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) at (650) 736-7359 from 9am to 5pm or the operating room front desk at (650) 721-2820 from 5pm to 9am.

Unexpected Schedule Changes

On few occasions, we may have to reschedule or delay your child’s procedure due to unexpected or emergency surgeries. We sincerely apologize if this happens and, we will try to keep you informed of the reasons for the delay or reschedule your child’s procedure or surgery as soon as possible.

Click here to print out our helpful guidelines for your next procedure or surgery.