Child Life: Pediatric Sedation Unit

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Children's View

Child Life: Sedation Ten-year-old William sits patiently with his parents, awaiting IV sedation and an MRI. Sedation is common before procedures and scans such as an MRI, and as a child life specialist in Radiology’s Sedation Unit, Melanie Hoynoski is there to prepare kids like William on what to expect.

Hoynoski pulls up a chair next to William’s bed and chitchats about sports, building up trust with him before introducing a small cloth doll. Together they tie a tourniquet around the doll’s arm.

“Do you know why?” she asks. “To make your vein bigger.”

Next, she lets William smell the alcohol pad before wiping down the doll’s arm. Together, they examine the IV’s “very bendy medicine tube,” and Hoynoski, a nine-year veteran of Child Life, explains how a small needle will help deliver it into the arm but will quickly be discarded.

“Does the doll want to watch or look away?” she asks William. “He wants to look away,” William replies.

Together, they insert the doll’s IV, remove the needle and tape the line to its arm.

Hoynoski shows William how to inject a tube of saline into the IV, which in the real situation will be “sleepy medicine.” He gleefully pushes down on the plunger.

Hoynoski assures William he’ll feel sleepy pretty quickly but that his parents will be right there.

“Is there anything you feel nervous about?” she asks. “No,” he says with a smile.