A little red Corvette and a license to drive – Making surgery a little less scary

Child Life Specialists helping kids get ready for surgerySeven-year-old Abigail has a license to drive and a little red Corvette to get her from pre-op to the operating room. And who doesn’t want a red corvette?

The red Power Wheels Corvette is garaged in the Main Surgery area on the 2nd floor. A donation several years ago from anesthesiologists of Old Pueblo Anesthesia, the Corvette is driven by young patients from pre-op to the operating room when they are here for surgery.

This jaunt in a toy car might seem like just a little bit of fun, but Child Life Specialist Amy Rothenberg explains this can help with a difficult transition. Prior to surgery the child has to leave their family to go to the OR. While your child maybe long over the separation anxiety of their toddler years, in stressful situations, like going for surgery, separation can prove difficult.

Dr. Atlas of Old Pueblo Anesthesia

Dr. Matt Atlas of Old Pueblo Anesthesia

Driving the car provides children with a sense of control, normality and play in a situation that might otherwise feel very out of their control.

Of course, if you’re driving a car you need a license.

Dr. Matthew Atlas of Old Pueblo Anesthesia suggested what was missing from the experience was a driving license for our young patients. The first licenses were issued just a few weeks ago, and Abigail was among the first patients licensed to drive the red Corvette as she sped off to the operating room. Hmmm, maybe we need a few traffic signs too! Here’s to a speedy recovery too.

Child Life Specialists at TMC for Children

Extensive training allows child life specialists to address children and their families needs in an age appropriate, developmental-based manner. While their work may look like just play, they are not babysitting and merely entertaining, but engaging in therapeutic activities that designed with purpose to support children and their families. When the child life specialists engage children in medicinal play, children can gain mastery and gain control helping them to understand the situation, which in turn helps the medical staff and the child’s healing process.

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