Chillicothe hospital gives kids mini cars to drive into surgery to reduce fear, anxiety


CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Having surgery at any age can bring with it lots of emotions. For younger patients at Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, any anxiety or fear is being driven away.

The hospital offers young patients a special ride in a mini car as they head into surgery. The cars can be operated by the patient or by a hand-held remote.

Adena says the cars are used to take kids to procedures such as tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies, the insertion of ear tubes and dental cases.

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Adena Anesthesia Manager Deb Park first saw the concept at a hospital in Oklahoma. Similar programs are also used 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 was a relief.

“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.”

Doctors at Adena say the car rides are having a positive effect on their young patients.

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