Hospital lets kids 'drive' themselves in for surgery

Doctors Medical Center in Modesto now has 2 (cutest-ever!) mini cars

By Michelle Ganley - Graham Media Group

Photo courtesy Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California

For a child, the idea of surgery might be daunting or scary.

The medical team at Doctors Medical Center, in Modesto, California, wants to change all that.

The doctors want to put the children in the driver’s seat, quite literally.

The center recently rolled out a miniature pink Volkswagen Beetle, specifically intended to take the hospital’s smallest patients to the operating room. The idea is, the cars will reduce stress and anxiety. It’s a fun little distraction before the big moment. It's also about control, so that they don't feel so helpless going in.

“When the children find out they can go into the operating room riding in a cool little car, they light up -- and in most cases, their fears melt away,” said Kimberly Martinez, a preop nurse at Doctors Medical Center. “In addition, when parents see their children put at ease, it puts them at ease, as well. It can be traumatizing for a young patient to be peeled away from their parents as they head into surgery. This truly helps everyone involved.”

It was Martinez who came up with the idea. The hospital said Martinez did some research and found the benefits of these cars to have a lasting impact on young patients.

What an incredible idea -- and a fun addition to the pediatric surgical program, especially for families in Northern California.

Last year, the medical center introduced a little black Mercedes in similar fashion.

Photo courtesy Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California

 

The one-seat cars are made just for kids. They’re fully equipped with a stereo -- with a variety of preloaded music and an MP3 player -- and both of these vehicles can be operated by remote control or by the children themselves.

The cars have working headlights, backup lights and dash lights. The doors open, they’re equipped with a safety belt and you can honk the horn. They’re intended for kids ages 2 to 7.

The new pink car was generously donated by an employee at Doctors Medical Center and her family. The hospital bought the black Mercedes.


Editor's note: The children shown in the photos above are kids of employees at Doctors Medical Center -- not patients. All photos were provided by DMC.

Graham Media Group 2019