HUMMER’s "Courageous Kids" program delivers child-sized HUMMERs to hospitals nationwide
DETROIT – Hospitals across the United States will soon be adding child-sized, HUMMER battery-operated vehicles to their pediatric units. The vehicles are being donated by HUMMER dealerships under a program called “Courageous Kids.” The HUMMERs are used by young patients who may “drive” themselves into surgery or for other medical procedures. The goal of Courageous Kids is to help reduce the anxiety that frightened children often experience when undergoing medical treatment.
“We believe this mode of transportation definitely beats a gurney ride and can help take young patients’ minds off their fears,” said Martin Walsh, HUMMER general manager. To date, hospitals in Michigan, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Washington, and Texas have begun replacing gurney rides with self-driven HUMMER rides in style.
Last year, the General Motors plant in Shreveport, La., where the HUMMER H3 is built, came up with the idea and made the first donation of two ride-on HUMMERs to the local Sutton Children’s Hospital. It was the suggestion of GM Shreveport employee David Burroughs, an environmental engineer. Burroughs was familiar with diversion therapy, a strategy often used at children’s hospitals. With diversion therapy medical professionals and volunteers often bring dogs and other pets to visit patients, as the animals having a known therapeutic effect. Additionally, some hospitals use rides in wagons and golf carts to help distract children from worries about their medical procedures. “So I thought why not do the same thing with HUMMERs?” explains Burroughs.
The results have been overwhelmingly positive. According to the Sutton hospital’s medical staff, even the most anxious children forgot about their fear of surgery thanks to the excitement of driving a HUMMER to their procedure. “Local surgeons have told us that some kids even require less anesthesia when they ride into surgery in the HUMMERs,” said Burroughs. “It’s a rather remarkable phenomenon.”
Some medical workers and parents have found a ride in the HUMMER toy is a great motivator during recovery as well. “I worked with one patient who used to take thirty minutes to swallow his medications,” said Amanda Hays, Child Life manager at the Louisiana State University Health Services facility. “Now he takes them in about five minutes so that he can ride!”
Walsh says the results of a few local donations convinced HUMMER to make the program available to dealerships around the U.S. “Once we heard about these favorable results we knew we needed to quickly expand the program so children’s hospitals all around the country could use our toys to put smiles on the faces of their young patients and help lessen the stress and anxiety of their parents, too,” noted Walsh. He expects dealerships around the U.S. will soon be making the mini-HUMMER donations to their local hospitals.
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