First Laparoscopic Surgeries Performed at the Bustamante Hospital for Children

Richard Perkins
06 May, 2024

Pediatric surgery, the delicate art of operating on infants, children, and adolescents, last week witnessed a remarkable advancement with the first laparoscopic surgeries performed at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC).  The appendectomy (removal of the appendix) and cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) were made possible with the laparoscopic machine, donated to the BHC by the CHASE Fund. 

Dr. Sarah Marshall Niles, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at the BHC responsible for the gall bladder removal, said the surgical team was happy to be able to provide this type of procedure with significant benefits to patients. “We are quite humbled and grateful to have finally achieved our long-standing vision of being able to truly provide world class surgical service to our nation’s children,” she said.  

Dr. Sarah Marshall Niles, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon (centre), performs an elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) at the Bustamante Hospital for Children recently. She was assisted by Dr. Lindburg Simpson (right), Consultant laparoscopic surgeon from KPH and Paediatric Surgeon, Dr Ian Fearon.

Laparoscopic surgery, also known as minimally invasive surgery, involves the use of specialized instruments and a laparoscope—a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light source—to visualize and operate inside the abdomen or pelvis through small incisions. Dr. Marshall Niles said the surgeon benefits from increased visibility during the procedure as the field of surgery is viewed with a telescope that provides magnified vision which improves surgical precision.   Commenting on the surgeries, Dr. Claudine DeSouza, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon who performed the appendectomy noted that Laparoscopic Appendicectomies had been a goal of the hospital for some time and she was extremely grateful to see it come to fruition. 

Dr Claudine DeSouza, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, performs emergency Laparoscopic appendicectomy at the Bustamante Hospital for Children recently. She was assisted by Assistants Dr Kimberly Thomas and Dr Orville Morgan

“It means we are able to offer similar surgical care to the children at Bustamante Children’s Hospital as they would receive in most first world countries for certain procedures. It means smaller scars for some procedures, less pain, a quicker recovery and likely quicker return to physical activities. We will continue the legacy of our mentors and do our best for our nation’s children,” she said. 


“The patient made a full recovery and has very small scars that are barely obvious,” she added.


The integration of laparoscopic machines into BHC’s surgical practice represents a significant advancement in care at the institution which is the only children’s hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean. The institution caters to patients from birth to 12 years, providing a comprehensive range of diagnostic, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and ambulatory services in paediatric medical and surgical specialties and sub-specialties.


The acquisition of the laparoscopic machine was financed at a cost of $20 million by the CHASE Fund under its Health portfolio. The Fund supports health initiatives that advance the promotion of healthy lifestyles; build, upgrade, restore and equip health facilities, children’s homes, palliative and drug rehabilitation centres, AIDS hospices and shelters for the homeless, while also providing training for personnel who administer such facilities.

Elective Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) in progress at the Bustamante Hospital for Children recently.