AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Surgery is scary for everyone, especially pediatric patients. Northwest Texas Healthcare System’s new program featuring electric cars is making the ride to the operating room, a little more fun.
Lisa Chontos, Assistant Director of Surgical Services said, “the purpose of it is to make it a little bit of a better environment for the child, so they’re not as scared and it’s a little more fun for them to be able to drive the car.”
6-year-old Bentley broke his arm right before a football game. He had to have surgery and was scared, but the cars made the experience better. Bentley’s mom, Brittaney Bailey explained, “we were teasing him like oh it’s a G-Wagon. He was so excited to take it. It was a great experience, I mean he wasn’t crying or anything, he just got in it and went.”
The cars were donated by Chauncy’s Automotive. Each car is equipped with a safety belt and horn. The cars are a way to give the patient a little control over what is happening to them. Chontos said, “we don’t have to give them as much medication on the front end, so they just get in the car and they’re so excited about the car. It’s a great diversionary tactic for them so that they don’t even realize that they’re going back to surgery.”
Bentley was the first patient to take part in this new program. His family was a little hesitant to let him drive at first, but he convinced them. Bailey said, “he’s like no mom, I want to go in it. I’m like okay if you want to go in, then I’ll let you go, so he’s like yeah, I’m going to drive, so I went ahead and just let him go, so I was a little nervous, but I knew he was fine.”
The electric cars are at the NWTH Surgery Center on Soncy and at Northwest Main on Coulter. The cars are for pediatric patients between the ages of three and 10-years-old.