Children’s West celebrates milestone

Children’s West Surgery Center celebrated a milestone when its staff performed the center’s 50,000th surgery.

Elijah Easterly of Knoxville had his tonsils and adenoids removed in the center at 1020 Children’s Way, Knoxville, Tuesday, Dec. 13, making his surgery the 50,000th surgery in the center’s 13-year history.

“I’m going to have his peanut removed today,” Elijah, son of Michael and Krystle Easterly, told doctors before his surgery.

“The next goal is to take care of the next patient,” Elijah’s physician, Dr. John Little, a Farragut native, said.

“This is very exciting,” Michael Powers, Children’s West Surgery Center administrator, said.” It’s a great achievement for the center.

“We feel we have something special here. There are only 16 in the country.”

“[The center is] great for patients,” Little said. “It’s created and it caters to children.”

“That allows us to be successful,” Michael Powers, Children’s West administrator, said.

“The parents like it because it has more access, and the surgeons like it because it has pediatric anesthesiologists with fellowship training, which means they have done additional pediatric anesthesiology training,” Little said.

Children’s West, the only pediatric-specific, freestanding ambulatory surgery center in the state, is a joint venture between East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and 14 area pediatric surgeons and dentists, Powers said.

The 9,822-square-foot facility includes two operating rooms, staffed by Children’s Hospital anesthesiologists. The most common surgeries performed are removal of tonsils and urology procedures,

“We will do about 5,000 surgeries on patients this year,” Powers said. “We are a multi-specialty surgery center.

Besides serving patients in Knoxville, Powers said the center also serves patients as far as North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.

The center is ambulatory in that a patient can walk in, have surgery and leave that same day, he said. It is freestanding because it is not on a hospital campus.

“We are here on our own,” Powers said. “There are not that many [existing].

“This community is blessed to have one, and I am privileged to be a part of it. We all come together for the sole purpose of providing excellent care for the patient.”

He said there are four key aspects of taking care of children in this kind of environment.

One of those aspects is the facility’s design, such as its lobby and play area, that is created for children and features a balloon theme.

The second key aspect is the equipment in the center.

“All the equipment — the surgical instrumentation and supplies — are all specific for pediatric patients,” Powers said. “It includes emergency medications and equipment.

The third aspect is the staff, which is medically trained to take care of children.

“The physicians are all pediatric trained so they know how to take care of kids medically and how to interact with them on their level,” he said.

The fourth key aspect is the anesthesiologist.

“Before [the anesthesiologists] put [the children] to sleep, they do a bedside assessment and ask detailed questions regarding the patients. Being able to talk to kids on their level is very important,” Powers said.