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Pediatric Patients Help Out With Pumpkin Surgery

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Medical staff for Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento perform “surgery” on pumpkins in front of an audience including patients, families and staff on Halloween,Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Pumpkin surgery is a messy endeavor, as patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children found out this Halloween.

About two dozen children gathered to watch a team of surgeons operate on two giant pumpkins - one weighing 72 pounds, the other weighing 106 pounds.

The “operating table” was supplied with gowns, gloves, masks, knives, IV bags and breathing tubes. Patients assisted residents and surgeons as they administered anaesthesia on the gourds and prepared them for surgery.

The annual Halloween tradition takes place in the hospital’s schoolroom. Many of the patients receive in-hospital treatment for several weeks, so they attend a K through 12 school program supported by the Sacramento City Unified School District.

The surgery is part lesson and part fun, said educational and vocational services coordinator Margaret Kugler.

“It helps the kids have a little fun with surgery but also not be afraid of it in a different way,” she said. “And it is really great for the surgeons to be able to interact with the kids in a fun way instead of always having to do something that’s medically necessary.”

This marks the 11th year the hospital has held the event.

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