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Big medicine for small patients: Developing kid-sized tools for the OR

The challenges facing pediatric surgeons was the focus of a recent segment on KQED-FM's QUEST. During the show, Sanjeev Dutta, MD, described such challenges as “plumbing problems:”

Dutta is a pediatric surgeon at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, in Palo Alto, where he operates on children with these and other problems. He says often, the instruments he uses when he does these surgeries weren’t built for tiny babies. They were made for adults.

"We struggle with instruments that were never designed for the type of patient we are working on, and we adapt."

Dutta says the issue here isn’t safety. Most of these surgeries are, by now, pretty routine. But pediatric surgeons have to improvise in ways other surgeons don’t.

The segment also highlighted how pediatric surgeons, including Dutta, are collaborating with engineers from SRI International to create tools more appropriately sized for tiny patients.

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