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CHOP Lets The Patients Be The Doctors For A Day

CHOP Lets Patients Be The Doctors For A Day

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PHILADELPHIA - No matter what the ailment, whether waiting for a transplant, or dealing with the pain of cancer, kids need something to keep their spirits up.

A step into the hallway is a welcome distraction when they're stuck day in and day out in a hospital room

As Fox 29's Kerry Barrett shows us, The Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia take those steps further with a day these kids will never forget.

It can be a pretty bleak for children spending days and weeks in a hospital room .

"It's tiny and boring,” says one patient.

The child life program at Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia allows the children to become “Doctor For A Day" and their eyes light up.

The day teaches children about the procedures they will face. They get to learn through medical play which helps them have a less stressful stay.

Medical residents play "parent" to baby doll "patients" and the actual patients play doctors

Lisa Heston has severe debilitating migraine. Her mom says she has lost more than a month of school this year because of them.

"She ends up not being able to eat, drink. She ends up laying in bed, she misses school, sports, friends, she's very active, but she ends up missing it,” explains Lisa’s mom, Catherine Heston.

The hospital does an amazing job providing activities and bringing things into the room but it still gets depressing.

"I'm going to be playing with dolls and stuff, playing to take care of them,” says Lisa.

"They will have access to a name badge, a medical coat. They will have access to equipment, so they can take a stethoscope and listen to a patient’s heart, take an alcohol swab and clean an injection site. They are the things they experience while they are here every day,” explains, Certified Child Life Specialist, Elise Ehrenreich.

And the kids love it!

One of those kids is nine year old Ryan Magnotta. He has hereditary pancreatitis. His hospital stays can last weeks on end.

"The blood pressure is pretty high,” says Ryan as he plays doctor.     

He understand things about medicine, no child his age should ever have to.

Although, he arrives to "Doctor For A Day" with reminders of his own medical issues. Ryan doesn't even seem to notice.

CHOP treats patients for anything and everything.  There are kids that are there for a few days while other for weeks and months.

 “We have a chronic population, kids here for cancer or a heart condition or kidney disease and we have patients who come here for the first time for an asthma flare or a broken arm,” describes Ehrenreich.

For Lisa a day that started as "it's tiny and boring” is now one that's "big and fun".

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