Robert Stanford Sawin, MD

General Surgery, Oncology, Transplantation

On staff since March 1988

Children's Title: General Surgeon

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.

    • Related Resources

    • Zach Seattle, WA 03.29.17

      Dr Sawin treated me for pectus excavatum back in 2007. My sternum was putting pressure on the right ventricle of my heart and causing a lot of issues. I actually moved to Seattle to be able to have Dr Sawin do my surgery. I did a lot of research on various surgeons around the country and decided he was the right fit for me. From the first consultation with him, until my nuss bar was removed, he exceeded my expectations. He made sure I knew exactly what was happening/going to happen. He made sure I had realistic expectations. Not many dr's leave you with the impression that they genuinely care about your wellbeing, he is an acception to that. I recovered much quicker than many people I have read about and after seeing videos of how other surgeons do the procedure and knowing how Dr Sawin executed mine, he is the reason I was able to recover so quickly and have such great results. Even the scars are so minimal I have to point hem out to people. I would trust this man with any procedure that I or my child needed.

  • Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
    SEATTLE'S TOP DOCTOR - 2019 Seattle Magazine 2019
    SEATTLE'S TOP DOCTOR - 2018 Seattle Magazine 2018
    SEATTLE'S TOP DOCTOR - 2017 Seattle Magazine 2017
    SEATTLE MAGAZINE TOP DOCTOR - 2016 Seattle Magazine 2016
    SEATTLE'S TOP DOCTOR - 2015 Seattle Met Magazine 2015
    SEATTLE'S TOP DOCTOR - 2014 Seattle Metropolitan Magazine 2014
    Seattle Magazine Top Doctor - 2013 Seattle Magazine 2013
    Seattle's Top Doc Seattle Met 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
    Newsweek Health: Top Cancer Doctors 2015 Newsweek 2015
  • Other Publications

    • ACS Children's Surgery Verification Committee, Oldham KT, Fallat M, Barnhart D, Derkay C, Deshpande J, Georgeson K, Hirschl R, Houck C, Mooney D, Moss RL, Sawin R, Tuggle D
      Reply to a Letter to the Editor.
      26162971 Journal of pediatric surgery, 2015 Aug. : 50(8)1434-6
    • Sawin RS
      A surgeon's reflections on love.
      25817396 American journal of surgery, 2015 May : 209(5)773-8
    • 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 April : 271-6
    • Sawin R.S.
      Pediatric Surgery
      Oxford Handbook of Pediatrics, 2009
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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 April : 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


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