Patients go to school on operation pumpkin surgery

Teachers turned the October 31 Halloween festivities into an educational opportunity at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California.  Two giant pumpkins greeted kids when they arrived at the Shriners Hospital School on Monday.  The pumpkins were part of a special holiday lesson plan that focused on math and the surgical process, as demonstrated by Dr. Michelle James, Chief of Orthopaedics. Working beside her was surgery resident Dr. Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana.

Instruction began with surgical prep. Students dressed in surgical garb to prepare the patient – in this case a giant pumpkin. The pumpkin scheduled for surgery with Dr. James weighed in at 102.1 pounds.  Once properly placed on the surgery table, teachers asked students to guess how many seeds were inside.

When Dr. James arrived for the 10 a.m. surgery, kids stepped in to assist with operation pumpkin, which was deemed a success as the “patient” emerged with a Halloween face.  Parents and families were invited to class to observe the pumpkin surgery.

“The surgery is for the kids and surgeons to have a little fun with a sometimes scary procedure,” said Margaret Kugler, school program coordinator. “The kids participate in preparing the pumpkins to be ready and not afraid of the surgery.  They also have fun dressing up in gowns and assisting the doctors by pulling seeds out of the pumpkins.”

Students used math skills to count the seeds, which added up to 555.

It was a fun and educational day, any way you count it.

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About the Shriners Hospital School

A joint project of Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Sacramento City Unified School District, the on-site public school allows children to keep up with their school work while hospitalized. Located inside Shriners Hospital, the school provides bilingual education for Kindergarten through 12th grade. Special programs include vocational education and school re-entry programs.

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