Research suggests that general anesthesia can be harmful to infant brains. By using a local anesthetic administered by spinal, doctors at UVM Medical Center operated on 12-day-old Mira Barr who was awake, comfortable and even gets a little sleepy.

UVM Medical Center leads the world in using spinal anesthesia for surgery on babies amid growing concerns general anesthesia might adversely affect young brain development

Burlington Free Press
When Mira Barr was 12 days old, she had surgery at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington to implant a feeding tube into her stomach. Barr was having a hard time drinking her milk because of a coordination issue.

“Babies have a suck/swallow rhythm they’re supposed to get when they’re born, they have it naturally,” said Lisa Barr, Mira’s mother. “Her’s was off. She was aspirating taking in milk, whether breast feeding or bottle feeding.”

In a remarkable video from UVM Children’s Hospital showing an operation to remove Mira Barr’s feeding tube when she was six months old, she is awake, contentedly sucking on a pacifier and holding the finger of pediatric anesthesiologist Dr. Rob Williams, who is stroking her forehead with his finger.

“It’s great, it’s the best experience I can have,” Williams said. “I get to sit there and play with the baby.”