Magic and Medicine Mix to Help Children

Magician and Anesthetist Dr. Rob Martinek uses his performing skills to minimize young patient’s stress as they are taken into surgery.
“A stranger dressed in green surgical scrubs with a mask dangling around their neck taking you into an unknown room can provoke anxiety, especially in children,” Dr. Martinek tells The Brantford Expositor in Ontario, Canada.
“Parents need to be reassured that their child will be well cared for in the operating room and we want children to have as pleasant an experience as possible.”
Sure, but what kind of magic can you perform in Pre-Op?
Dr. Martinek’s ingenuity is impressive. He uses the classic “Find the Hole” and DeLite.
“While meeting with the child and their parents I let the child examine my surgical glove so they can see there are no holes in it,” Dr. Martinek explained.
“Then I make a coin go right through it. I might also point out the red light on their blood pressure cuff and abracadabra, all of a sudden it appears on the tip of my thumb. The kid’s eyes light up with amazement and they become more relaxed. I try to relax the parents as well since a child can pick up their stress levels. Then I take the child by the hand and we walk together into the operating room to show them even more magic.”
Dr. Martinek was inspired to use his magic to ease his young patient’s concerns after attending a conference related to developing critical thinking skills. “A few of the speakers were magicians and they illustrated how easily our minds can be fooled and then explained some of the methods that trick the mind.”
Performing magic is also a good way to keep one’s observational skills intact.
“Our job is to observe the patient very closely during their operation and intervene if needed,” Dr. Martinek said.
“Magic can enhance your observational and critical thinking skills since you become more aware of the potential ways in which you can misinterpret reality.”
Dr. Martinek treats pediatric patients Brantford General Hospital and says that is a full-time job, plus some. He has no intention of performing for birthday parties or school assemblies.
On the other hand, we often induce the effects of anestheisa during our magic shows; although not on purpose.
You can read the full article in The Brantford Expositor here.


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