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Can a “BERT” System Be The New Hit to Help Pediatric Surgical Patients?

Jaclyn Hughes

Even if perhaps you have never had a child undergo a surgical experience, any adult can certainly sympathize with a little one preparing for surgery. The fears associated with surgical procedures can scare anyone, as there isn’t just the what ifs playing over in your head, but the pain felt after surgery, as well as any risks associated with the operation. A lot to endure without question, and a California hospital is diligently trying to do their part to make the entire process much smoother for every child coming into their surgical facility.

Whether you’re a fan of modern technology, or loathe it to bits, it certainly has its advantages. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital located in Palo Alto, is making great strides to help kiddos relax and keep their breathing settled just before surgeries. A group of doctors there noticed that the anxieties that come along with scared children just before a procedure aren’t just emotional hurdles, and that there are many other issues that come along with their fears that actually make their own case higher risk. For example, if a baby is set up for a surgery and they are crying intensely, physicians say they get way too much air building up internally in the stomach areas, and this makes for an even trickier medical protocol. They can be known for getting saliva into their lungs, and having an all over massive panic attack which is exactly what surgeons don’t want for any patient young or old.

The answer? A new “BERT” screen, which is basically a projector screen that gets mounted to the patient’s bed and stays with them from pre-surgery, all the way through the end. Kids get to choose just about anything they like (as long as it’s appropriate for their age) to be viewed on their magic screen to help put their minds at ease. Music videos, movies, cartoons and so forth can all bring some peace to the young patients. NPR reported that hospitals also use iPads loaded with games, books, decorating their surgical masks, decorating their hospital rooms that they’ll be staying in after surgery, and lots of volunteers about the facilities ready and waiting to play board games or color at a moments notice.

Surgery is never an easy situation. You’re essentially changing the way your body was made, and there will definitely be a recovery period at home that parents are to watch over closely as well advises the medical staff. Parents need to be on the lookout for any emotional changes once the child is discharged, such as depression, anxiety, restlessness, or irritability that just isn’t the child’s normal personality. If at any point you notice these changes developing, it is best to contact the child’s surgical team at once and discuss next steps to avoid any possible side effects they could be experiencing from the surgery.

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