Robert S. Sawin, MD

Robert S. Sawin, MD

General Surgery, Oncology, Transplantation

On staff since March 1988

Children's Title: Surgeon-in-Chief

Academic Title: Professor of Surgery

Research Center: Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development

"It is my job to ensure that every child receives the highest quality of surgical care and that it is provided safely and with compassion."

Robert Sawin, MD, is surgeon-in-chief at Seattle Children's Hospital and vice chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is an attending surgeon in both pediatric general and thoracic surgery and in pediatric transplant.

He completed his residency at Harvard's Brigham and Womens Hospital and completed a fellowship at Seattle Children's. Sawin helped establish Seattle Children's liver transplant program and ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) program. In addition to clinical interests in pediatric liver, tumor surgery, congenital anomalies and the correction of chest wall deformities, Dr. Sawin leads the department of surgery's efforts in developing health care systems that ensure high quality, safe and cost effective care.

Making a Difference

  • Harnessing the Power of Research

    A new initiative aims to bring research to more children at the site of care – a bold step to improve outcomes by inspiring more collaboration between clinicians and scientists. ... cont.


Board Certification(s)

Pediatric Surgery

Medical/Professional School

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh


Surgery - General, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston


Pediatric Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle

Clinical Interests

Pediatric tumors, Congenital diaphragmatic hernia, inflammatory bowel disease and chest wall defects

Research Focus Area

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Genetics and Developmental Biology

Awards and Honors

Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
SEATTLE'S TOP DOCTOR - 2015 Seattle Met Magazine 2015
SEATTLE'S TOP DOCTOR - 2014 Seattle Metropolitan Magazine 2014
Seattle's Top Doc Seattle Met Magazine 2013
Seattle Magazine Top Doctor - 2013 Seattle Magazine 2013
U.S. News Top Doctor U.S. News and World Report 2012
Seattle Magazine Top Doctor - 2012 Seattle Magazine Top Doctor - 2012 Seattle Magazine 2012


  • Sawin RS
    A surgeon's reflections on love.
    25817396 American journal of surgery , 2015 Feb. 23
  • Avansino JR, Goldin AB, Risley R, Waldhausen JH, Sawin RS
    Standardization of operative equipment reduces cost.
    24074655 Journal of pediatric surgery , 2013 Sept. : 48(9)1843-9
  • Redding GJ, Kuo W, Swanson JO, Phillips GS, Emerson J, Yung D, Swanson JW, Sawin RS, Avansino JR
    Upper thoracic shape in children with pectus excavatum: Impact on lung function.
    22912067 Pediatric pulmonology , 2012 Aug. 21
  • Amies Oelschlager AM, Sawin R
    Teratomas and ovarian lesions in children.
    22595711 The Surgical clinics of North America , 2012 June : 92(3)599-613, viii
  • Meehan JJ, Sawin R
    Robotic lateral pancreaticojejunostomy (Puestow).
    21683190 Journal of pediatric surgery , 2011 June : 46(6)e5-8
  • Ledbetter DJ, Sawin RS
    Adrenal insufficiency in newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
    20659737 The Journal of pediatrics , 2010 Oct. : 696; author reply 696
  • Waldhausen JH, Avansino JR, Libby A, Sawin RS
    Application of lean methods improves surgical clinic experience.
    20638518 Journal of pediatric surgery , 2010 July : 1420-5
  • Lao OB, Crouthamel MR, Goldin AB, Sawin RS, Waldhausen JH, Kim SS
    Thoracoscopic repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia in infancy.
    20059390 Journal of laparoendoscopic & advanced surgical techniques. Part A , 2010 Apr, : 271-6
  • Sawin R.S.
    Pediatric Surgery
    Oxford Handbook of Pediatrics , 2009
  • Goldin AB, Sawin RS, Garrison MM, Zerr DM, Christakis DA
    Aminoglycoside-based triple-antibiotic therapy versus monotherapy for children with ruptured appendicitis.
    17473090 Pediatrics , 2007 May : 905-11
  • Kletter GB, Sweetser DA, Wallace SF, Sawin RS, Rutledge JC, Geyer JR
    Adrenocorticotropin-secreting pancreatoblastoma.
    17642425 Journal of pediatric endocrinology & metabolism : JPEM , 2007 May : 639-42
  • Lee SL, Beyer TD, Kim SS, Waldhausen JH, Healey PJ, Sawin RS, Ledbetter DJ
    Initial nonoperative management and delayed closure for treatment of giant omphaloceles.
    17101356 Journal of pediatric surgery , 2006 Nov. : 1846-9
  • Kim SS, Lau ST, Lee SL, Schaller R Jr, Healey PJ, Ledbetter DJ, Sawin RS, Waldhausen JH
    Pyloromyotomy: a comparison of laparoscopic, circumumbilical, and right upper quadrant operative techniques.
    15978445 Journal of the American College of Surgeons , 2005 July : 66-70
  • Avansino JR, Goldman B, Sawin RS, Flum DR
    Primary operative versus nonoperative therapy for pediatric empyema: a meta-analysis.
    15930229 Pediatrics , 2005 June : 1652-9
  • Waldhausen JH, Cusick RA, Graham DD, Pittinger TP, Sawin RS
    Removal of chest tubes in children without water seal after elective thoracic procedures: a randomized prospective study.
    11949746 Journal of the American College of Surgeons , 2002 Apr, : 411-5
  • Sawin R. S.
    The Acute Abdomen
    Pediatric Critical Care
  • Sawin, R.S.
    Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Presentations Title Event Location Date
A Surgeons Reflections on Love North Pacific Surgical Association 2014 - 101th Annual Meeting Nov. 14, 2014
To Cut is to Cure?: Management of Pediatric Empyema Richard Schisgall Memorial Lecture, Childrens National Medical Center Washington, D.C. March 11, 2009