Hospital Lets Pediatric Patients Drive Adorable Mini Cars To Surgery

Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California, a 461-bed, multi-specialty hospital, has found a way to lessen the anxiety of young patients headed for surgery. The hospital now provides children with miniature cars to make the trip to the operating room less stressful.

For now, pediatric patients can choose between a miniature pink Volkswagen Beetle and a black Mercedes to make their way to surgery. “These sweet rides take our smallest patients to the operating room,” the hospital said in a statement to PEOPLE. “The goal is to reduce anxiety and stress and make the experience less scary for everyone involved.”

VW Beetle for Pediatric Surgical Patients

With a little passenger in tow, Caroline takes our new pink Beetle for a spin! Doctors Medical Center now has two little cars available for our young surgical patients to ride into the operating room. We can see the stress and anxiety melt away when they hop in the car ❤

Posted by Doctors Medical Center on Saturday, March 23, 2019

The idea was conceived by pre-op nurse Kimberly Martinez, who found out through research that the experience could have a positive effect on young patients. So far, the initiative has been a complete success. The hospital said that when children discover they can ride to the operating room in their own car, they immediately light up and lose their fear. Also, seeing their children at ease, helps allay the fears of parents as well.

The black Mercedes was purchased by the hospital, while the pink Beetle was donated by a member of the staff. The vehicles feature a stereo, an mp3 player and a selection of songs, so children can choose the song they like most. The cars also have working headlights and back-up and dashboard lights. The cars provide a few moments of joy during an otherwise distressing experience. “It can be traumatizing for a young patient to be peeled away from their parents as they head into surgery,” the hospital said. “This truly helps everyone involved.”

New Car for DMC Pediatric Patients

In case you missed our post from earlier, Doctors Medical Center now has a cool new ride for our little patients heading to the operating room! Check it out in action 😎 The goal is to make their experience a little less scary, and reduce their anxiety.

Posted by Doctors Medical Center on Monday, June 4, 2018

Many have supported the initiative online. "It's wonderful to see a smile instead of worry/fear," wrote one Facebook user, while another asked if a third car was needed. "This is wonderful and so important. Thank you for taking the extra step for your brave pediatric patients. Are you in need of an additional car? If so, I would like to donate one. Let me know who I can contact to arrange this!"

A study conducted by the University of California/Irvine found that up to 60% of all young children undergoing anesthesia and surgery report substantial anxiety. The stress and fear can cause children to wet themselves or attempt to escape from healthcare providers. Approximately 25% of young children who do not receive sedative premedication or have parental presence need to be held down by force during the administration of anesthesia.

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The study also found that preoperative anxiety in children can result in significantly higher postoperative pain, deferred hospital discharge, and higher rates of emergence delirium, sleep disorders, and other behavioral changes that can last for weeks following surgery.

In addition to children's services, Doctors Medical Center also provides cardiology, neurology, emergency, and trauma services, women services, orthopedics, medical/surgical, behavioral health, oncology, and critical/intensive care.

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