Adena Using Remote Control Cars to Take Kids to Surgery

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Having surgery at any age can bring with it lots of emotions. For younger patients at Adena Regional Medical Center, those anxieties and fears are being driven away, literally. 

Adena Surgery now offers remote control cars to pediatric patients for a special ride as they head into surgery. The bright red cars can be operated by both the young driver as well as by a hand-held remote controlled by an Adena employee.

Adena currently has two surgery transport cars, one for the hospital’s Main Operating Room and a second in the Adena Pavilion Surgery Center. The cars are used to take kids to procedures such as tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies, the insertion of ear tubes and dental cases.

The idea to bring this concept to Adena came from Anesthesia Manager Deb Park. Park had seen a video on YouTube, where this was being done at a hospital in Oklahoma, to make the hospital less intimidating to children. Similar programs are also being done at hospitals in Buffalo and San Diego. 

“I saw the video and thought ‘we could do this’,” Park explained. “We had a staff meeting and everyone was on board with the idea. The Anesthesia Department even donated the money to purchase the cars. I got to see the first case go back using them and I had tears in my eyes. The young girl was so excited. I’ve even seen some kids jump right out of their bed and get in the car.”

For the mother of four-year-old patient Katelin Davis seeing her daughter in good spirits ahead of her dental surgery helped her as well. “It was a lot easier on us knowing she wasn't upset heading to surgery,” Amanda Davis said. “I was nervous because she gets upset easy about things like this. Seeing her smiling and laughing was a huge relief. She has told everyone that she got to drive a Mercedes to the dentist room, and she got her picture taken while she did it. It really helped her cope with it all.”

Since Adena has introduced the surgery transport cars, doctors have been noticing the positive effects it is having on their young patients.

"The red car has been a wonderful addition for our pediatric patients,” said Dr. Eileen Martinez, who performed Katelin’s surgery. “It makes them excited to come back to the operating room when they generally have separation fear and anxiety coming back. I'm thankful for the purchase, and always enjoy watching the kiddos enter riding in style!"

Adena CRNA David Kohn agrees, “When it’s time for a child to be taken back for their procedure, it’s often difficult for the child to separate from their parents. As nurse anesthetists, we always do our best to make that transition easier; and the offer to ride in a ‘Mercedes’ to the operating room can really go a long way in putting a smile on the child’s face at a challenging moment.”

Missy Brenner, Adena Manager for Medical Staff Services and Provider Enrollment can attest to the impact the surgery transport car had with her family, including grandson, Cooper. “This is absolutely wonderful from the perspective of a patient’s family. This group provided an extra touch to make the transition for a three-year-old boy having a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy. Not only did he love driving the car, it made that separation and anxiety of the transfer easier for my daughter and son-in-law. I’m so, so proud of my Adena family.”

“The pediatric patients I've seen have really enjoyed the little red car,” commented Anesthesiologist Dr. Jacqueline Graham. “It seems to be an interesting and fun way to head to the operating room on a day that can sometimes be fraught with uncertainty and apprehension for the kiddos (and their parents). I've witnessed more giggles and laughter rolling down the hallways with the little red car, and it is a joy to see.”

With any surgery, it is often the road to recovery that is discussed. But for these young Adena patients, the road to the operating room is the one they’ll remember.