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Young patients get to drive to surgery at Valley Children's

Gurneys are out and remote controlled cars are in for patients heading to surgery (FOX26)

Heading to surgery can be stressful especially for kids.

Now, Valley Children's Hospital is making it easier for patients by driving them to surgery.

In most cases, gurneys are out, and remote-controlled cars for kids are in.

We met a patient at Valley Children's who was only minutes away from minor surgery but he was more focused on sitting in a toy Mercedes in the hallway.

The i Drive program at Valley Children's gets young patients in a car and puts them at ease.

Dr. Douglas Tamura helped start the program at VCH. "It's great because children want to go and are willing to go in the car and it gives them some type of control when they go back to the operating room."

There used to be tears and fears in the hallway but that's been replaced by laughter. Tracee Bettencourt liked seeing her son care free about surgery. "For me it was awesome. As a parent you kind of get worried and nervous when your child is going to have a procedure and that as a parent kind of makes me feel at ease."

Dr. Tamura and nurse Shelly Reyes saw a report on YouTube showing cars wheeling kids to surgery at a hospital back east.

Quick research got the program started at Valley Children's in August. "Rather than worrying about the surgery itself and being scared and being separated from their family, they're now worried about which car type they're gonna pick."

There are six vehicles that roll through the halls including Mercedes, Jeep and Mini Cooper.

"The families are very excited about it for their child and the children are actually smiling when they go back to the operating room. That's a big change."

It's reducing anxiety for parents and patients and making kids enjoy the drive to improved health.

Patients with imaging appointments at Valley Children's also get to ride in the cars.


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