Children at Quebec hospital driving themselves to the OR
Laurier Therriault is pictured with mother Johanie Therriault as he test-drives a mini-car used by patients at the pediatric unit at Hopital Fleurimont in Sherbrooke, Que. (Photo courtesy of Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke)
Published Friday, November 9, 2018 12:44PM EST
Young patients at a Quebec hospital are driving themselves to the operating room in stylish mini electric cars.
Two cars – a grey Audi R8 and a red Volkswagen Beetle – have been donated to the pediatric unit at Hôpital Fleurimont in Sherbrooke for use by patients four to nine years old. The idea is that the cars can take the children’s minds off surgery and reduce their stress and fear.
Six-year-old Laurier Therriault tested the cars on his way to tonsil surgery.
"The mini-car drew his attention to something more pleasant than the operation, and it lowered his level of anxiety, that's for sure," said his mother Johanie Therriault, in a media release from the hospital.
“He was very focused and happy to play the game."
The experience of other hospitals shows the child-sized cars can have a positive medical outcome, Helene Rodrigue, head of the pediatric unit, said in the hospital’s statement.
“What has been observed elsewhere, in Europe and North America, shows that the positive effect on stress can even reduce the doses of drugs used to relax children before surgery. They are also more relaxed on waking.”
It’s expected the initiative could be extended to other hospitals in the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke network. More than 1,840 children underwent surgery at Hôpital Fleurimont or Hôtel-Dieu de Sherbrooke in 2017-2018.
The cars were donated by local car dealer Janick Dallaire and have been sponsored for one year by a company in the Eastern Townships through the Foundation of Stars, which is dedicated to funding pediatric research.