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Archive April 2020 XXI, No. 4

Ideas That Work: Hearts and Crafts

Bandage Art Helps Kids Heal

Akron (Ohio) Children's Hospital
DOC'S DOODLES Robert Parry, MD, FACS (right), makes sure each patient he operates on leaves the OR with a personalized wound dressing.

I love to sketch and draw in my free time, so during pre-op clinic visits I ask patients what kind of drawing they want me to make on the bandages I'll place over their scars after surgery. In the OR, as the rest of the team is preparing to move the patient to recovery, I pull up the character or image on an iPad and begin to draw the design on the bandage with my personal set of colored pens and pencils. The drawings take about 5 minutes to complete. I've drawn Mickey Mouse in scrubs, Snoopy, football helmets for most college and pro teams — and countless Sponge Bobs. I have fun making the art and the kids light up when they see their requests come to life. Covering kids' surgical scars with an image that makes them smile is incredibly fulfilling and lets them know I care about them as a person, not just as another patient. No need to worry if you don't have an artistic flair. It doesn't take a great artist to make a child smile during what is often a scary time for them and a nerve-wracking time for their parents.

Robert Parry, MD, FACS
Akron (Ohio) Children's Hospital

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