Hospital eases children’s surgery fears with hot wheels

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LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) – The sound of sirens is common at hospitals like Floyd Valley Healthcare in Le Mars. But those sounds don’t normally come from inside, the otherwise quiet halls of the hospital.

Le Mars Police Chief, Kevin Vande Vegte says, “When you sit in a police car and you push the siren it’s much more fun than hearing a siren behind you.”

A new partnership between the hospital and the local police and fire departments is making a trip to the operating room a little more fun for young patients.

With a new set of custom hot wheels, designed and funded by the Le Mars police and fire departments, kids are able to feel what it would be like to drive an emergency vehicle.

Le Mars Fire Rescue Chief, David Schipper says, “The guys actually wired them up, charged them up, put all the stickers on that basically mimic all the stickers on our fire and police vehicles.”

But these cars aren’t made for just anyone to ride in. They serve a purpose for kids who are facing emergencies of their own.

Floyd Valley Healthcare CEO, Dustin Wright says, “We were really excited about how we could enhance the experience for our pediatric patients that are obviously going through a very difficult time.”

Those cars were created for little ones to drive into surgery, a time that can be scary and even traumatizing for children.

Surgery RN, Kim Vande Vegte says, “As soon as they have to leave their parents to either go into the operating room or for testing, they tend to get a little nervous. A lot of time there will be a lot of crying, some screaming, reaching back for their parents. So, hopefully, with the addition of these cars, that will make their experience a little bit more positive.”

Chief Vande Vegte says, “Gives kids kind of a fun environment in a not-fun situation they might be in.”

And while the lights and sirens on these cars still technically foreshadow something difficult, hopefully, this will lift some of the weight off a child’s shoulders, carried by an entire community that cares.

Chief Schipper says, “You know we have great caring people here in Le Mars. We take pride in taking care of our citizens.”

Chief Vande Vegte says, “This is kids and Le Mars is our home and we invest in our kids.”

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