Skip to main content


Patients in the Spotlight: Sarah Casto

Sarah Casto—Souvenir Smiles and Smiley Faces

In February 2011, 13-year-old Sarah Casto woke her parents up early in the morning, complaining that her stomach hurt very badly. Sarah’s parents called her pediatrician, Richard Bloom, M.D., who told them that Sarah might have appendicitis. He immediately sent the family to Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Hospital physicians confirmed that Sarah had appendicitis, and she was given medication to dull her pain and prepped for surgery.

“Sarah is a little bit of a drama queen to begin with, and she’s scared of needles too, so she wasn’t doing too well. And, as a parent, it’s terrifying to think of your child needing a major medical procedure. The hospital staff did an excellent job helping us manage our concerns,” said Sarah’s mother Cindy. “They were all terrific – really, really reassuring and very good with Sarah, who was simply overwhelmed by everything.”

Within hours of her admission, Sarah was in the operating room with Walter Pegoli Jr., M.D., Surgeon-in-Chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital, who removed Sarah’s appendix.  She spent the night for observations and was discharged the very next day.

“This kind of thing can come up really quickly and, if all goes well, it’s also over very quickly. One day you need surgery, and the next you’re back at home thinking, ‘Wow, that went well,’” Cindy said.

Sarah has made a complete recovery and has had no complications from her surgery. The only mementos that Sarah will take away from her experience are a photo her mother took of her looking exhausted from surgery and a small scar she affectionately nicknamed “Billy” after she drew a set of eyes above it, turning it into a smiley face.

Cindy will take away a different kind of memento – deep gratitude for the people who helped her daughter in her time of need. “Whenever I think back on it, I’m impressed with the quality of care we received,” Cindy said. “The people on the nursing and medical staff are truly wonderful. They managed to turn a potentially not-so-good experience into something we can look back on, with weirdly fond memories.”

Learn about how Golisano Children's Hospital is hoping to enhance its Pediatric Surgery Division.