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Meet the doctor: Leslie Sims, MD

Leslie Sims, MD, general and pediatric anesthesiologist, understands her patients’ vulnerability. With expertise and empathy, she guides adults and children through the surgical experience – and collaborates with her MAPMG colleagues on new innovations. In this Q&A, learn more about Dr. Sims and the compassion, calm, and skill she brings to her young patients’ surgical experiences.

What does care mean to you as a physician, and how did that guide your decision to work at MAPMG?

“I define “Care” as treating others as you would like to be treated, then going a little above and beyond. I had an appendectomy when I was in medical school. I had never been in an operating room before and was so scared. When I see patients, they are in their most vulnerable state, like I was. I remind myself that surgery is not routine for the patient. I try to help people overcome their fear or anxiety by being a calming presence and listening without judging. I take a small moment to connect with patients and chat about their lives. I also hand out teddy bears … sometimes to my adult patients too!

“Part of how I strive to give patients the best experience is making sure if I have a child scheduled, he or she is always the first case of the day. That way, they don’t get anxious or have to wait too long to eat. Parents can bring their child in pajamas too. We have stuffed animals, videos, and iPads, but the most important thing is to have the parents in pre-op. We keep everyone together until we are going into the operating room. When the parents are anxious, it rubs off on the kids. I try to explain everything in language that is appropriate for the parent and then again for the child. I keep fun scents to for kids to pick out for the mask. Right now, mango and bubblegum are the most popular.”

“One of the things that attracted me to MAPMG is our strength in numbers. We have nearly 2,000 physicians in our medical group. A common misconception is that MAPMG provides only primary care; in fact, we have pretty much every specialty represented. I am glad we have the expertise to take care of all of our members’ needs.”

What are the most interesting things happening in your specialty right now?

“Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) is a new, multi-modal approach which includes providing opioid-sparing anesthesia. Changing how we provide the anesthetic allows the patient to wake up faster, recover faster, and be ready to go home quicker. This is good because evidence shows that people do better when they go home sooner. Plus, with the opioid epidemic, we are also working to treat people with chronic pain while reducing the amount of opioids in the community. As anesthesiologists, we are pain medicine experts. We help figure out how much pain medicine a patient needs, and we’re minimizing narcotic use whenever possible.

“Also, we have a new pediatric obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) program in the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC). When children have sleep apnea, they can fall asleep and have breathing complications, which can be worse after surgery. With our program, we have created a kid-friendly environment with food, toys, and videos. A parent can spend the night with them too. This makes kids with OSA comfortable when an overnight stay is needed.”

As a busy physician, what keeps you driven? What keeps you balanced?

“I volunteer through MAPMG’s community outreach programs and also really enjoy being a support to my professional colleagues. I also teach Highly Reliable Team training courses and simulations to physicians, nurses and ancillary staff.”

“I’m originally from Texas but I did my residency in Cleveland. My nieces and nephews want me to get a dog, so I’m in the market for a cute rescue. I had a black lab with a red bandana growing up. I love to travel and recently spent a week this summer going on my dream trip to Italy. I also love to exercise, garden, and cook Tex-Mex and Italian food.”

Learn more about Dr. Sims , including her background, education, credentials, and more.

Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C. (Permanente) is our network of over 1,500 physicians who practice in our medical centers located in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia.