Children at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital can now travel to surgery in style - driving miniature electric cars. The super-stylish remote-controlled Mercedes vehicles have parked up at the Trust thanks to a kind donation by Medacs Healthcare.
Complete with headlights, gear sticks and realistic engine revs, the three cars are available to children between the ages of three and eight years old who are in hospital for non-emergency and elective surgeries.
Three-year-old Thomas Brennan of Burnley was one of the first youngsters to have a ride in one of the vehicles. Channelling his inner Jenson Button, the enthusiastic toddler took great delight in taking the new set of wheels for a spin around the corridors before an operation.
Thomas’ mum, Lisa Brown, said: “Thomas has had more than 16 operations and he often gets anxious before surgery – he knows when we’re heading down the corridor what’s going to happen.
“Because he is deaf he is very visual and the look and feel of the car really excited him. It completely took his mind off the surgery. His face lit up riding in the car.”
Born in December 2015, Thomas has suffered from several health conditions during his life. His main issues have been respiratory problems, a cleft lip and palate, ophthalmology problems, a missing thumb, one kidney and profound deafness. He has also been diagnosed with VACTERL association – a disorder affecting many body systems.
The Lancashire lad now stars in his own Top Gear-style spin-off after hospital staff filmed a new video about the cars. The footage shows the youngster riding around in the white Mercedes before smoothly parking up in one of the allotted spaces next to the children’s theatre.
“He loved every minute of it!” Exclaimed mum Lisa. “All the worry just left when he rode the car to surgery. He was waving at all the staff as he went – he was like the Queen.”
Lead nurse Walter Tann was equally as pleased with the new motorised additions: “These cars will really improve the patient and family experience when heading down to surgery.
“It’s not only a welcome distraction for the children, but the parents enjoy taking photos and seeing their child having fun before they head into surgery.
“We’re currently using them at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Children having surgery at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital can also ride in style if they meet the criteria.
“We’re hoping to be able to send cars to our Starlight Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital and our children’s ward at Trafford General too.”
The presentation of the cars was made by Medacs Healthcare’s Vikki Nixon and Sarah Heyes, who met with staff from both the hospital and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity. They were even lucky enough to see the vehicles in action.
Money to purchase the cars was raised through direct sponsorship and a number of staff initiatives.
It is hoped that the donation of the electric cars will help bring a smile to the hundreds of thousands of children who are treated at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital every year.
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