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Stanford University School of Medicine

A closer look at a Stanford Children’s Health program that benefits children before surgery

A few months ago, my colleague wrote about a pair of pediatric anesthesiologists with Stanford Children's Health who found a fun and effective way to distract young patients before surgery. The Bedside Entertainment and Relaxation Theater, or BERT, is the brainchild of Sam Rodriguez, MD, and was featured yesterday on NPR's All Things Considered. Together with his friend and fellow anesthesiologist Thomas Caruso, MD, Rodriguez developed an easily disinfected video unit program designed to relax their young patients and reduce pre-procedure stress and nervousness.

Rodriguez continues to tinker with the BERT system, which was implemented into Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford earlier this year and came to be after he and his colleagues "noticed an opportunity to do better in terms of treating anxiety in children enduring the preoperative period."

"It's a very rewarding thing to work on. I don't mind working on it in my free time because when you have a child who really benefits from it [it's worth it]. It's why I think I chose to go into pediatrics," Rodriguez says in an accompanying video, featured above. (The adorable freckled-faced patient alone makes the piece worth watching.)

Previously: Packard Children's anesthesiologists invent safe, fun way to distract children before surgery, Advances in anesthesia make it possible for patients to remain awake and watch TV during surgery and Stanford psychologist discusses children experiencing anxiety and how parents can help them
Video courtesy of NPR/Kaiser Health News; photo in featured-image box courtesy of Stanford Children's Health

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