Difficulties with assessment and management of an infant’s distress in the postoperative period: Optimising opportunities for interdisciplinary information-sharing

Carlye Weiner, Sueann Penrose, Elizabeth Manias, Noel Cranswick, Ellie Rosenfeld, Fiona Newall, Allison Williams, Narelle Borrott, Sharon Kinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOther


The importance of accurate paediatric patient assessment is well established but under-utilised in managing postoperative medication regimens.

Data for this case report were collected through observations of clinical practice, conduct of interviews, and retrieval of information from the medical record. This case report involving a hospitalised 1-year-old boy demonstrates the difficulties associated with assessing and managing postoperative distress, including pain and other clinical conditions related to the surgical procedure.

Postoperatively, there were difficulties in managing pain and an episode of over-sedation, occasioning opiate reversal with naloxone. In addition, he had decreasing oxygen saturation and increased work of breathing. X-ray showed changes consistent with either atelectasis or aspiration, and he was commenced on antibiotics. The patient experienced respiratory distress and required intervention from the medical emergency team.

This case demonstrated the importance of comprehensive assessment and careful consideration of alternative causes of an infant’s distress using the results of assessment tools to aid decision-making. Communication moderates effective patient care, and more favourable outcomes could be achieved by optimising interdisciplinary information-sharing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalSAGE Open Medical Case Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety
  • medication management
  • analgesia
  • pain
  • communication
  • postoperative care

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