Matis Overcomes the Fear of Surgery

Finding unexpected ways to heal also means helping children like Matis overcome their fears. Terrified of injections, Matis, 8, was overwhelmed with anxiety every time he was about to go through surgery. Thankfully, the Children’s Parental Presence at Induction (PPI) program was there for him.

Matis was only a few hours old when he had his first surgery. Suffering from esophageal atresia, which causes repeated pneumonia and gastric reflux, he has since undergone more than a dozen surgeries. Before each surgery, Matis would burst into tears and become paralyzed by anxiety. For his parents, Mélanie and Stéphane, the situation was unbearable. “To see your child fear surgery, a procedure that could help him heal or even save his life, is heartbreaking.”

Thanks to your support, the Parental Presence at Induction (PPI) program, a program that is unique to Quebec, has made all the difference for Matis and his family. The goal of PPI is to reduce the stress of eligible young patients and their parents, who are trained to accompany their child during anesthesia. Gently and patiently, the medical team and the PPI program’s child life specialist have succeeded in calming Matis’s fears by teaching him how to control his breathing and by helping him understand the steps involved in his surgery through play. It’s been an incredible relief for him, and for his parents.

Without you, Matis might never have been able to overcome his fear of surgery. Your generous contribution has allowed him to better manage his stress, and he now understands that everything will be fine during his “magic sleep.”


Mélanie is especially grateful for having been able to accompany her son into the OR and stay with him until he fell asleep. The Children’s is one of the few hospitals in Canada to give such access to parents. “It’s always scary when Matis needs surgery, but to now see him face it with a smile, rather than tears, is so reassuring! The PPI program has worked small miracles for him!”

Thank you for allowing Mélanie and Stéphane to be with their son during these stressful moments. Your invaluable support allows many young patients like Matis to benefit from the miraculous effects of the PPI program, bringing peace of mind and unexpected ways to heal.  

About the Parental Presence at Induction (PPI) program

  • Unique to Quebec, the Children’s Parental Presence at Induction (PPI) program was developed at the Montreal Children’s Hospital in 2011.
  • First launched as a pilot project, the program that helped over 30 families in the first year is now helping more than a thousand families annually.
  • Studies have shown that reducing anxiety in children before surgery helps to prevent postoperative complications.
  • 100% of anesthesiologists say that the coaching of child life specialists reduces stress in children. It facilitates their collaboration and the administration of anesthesia.