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Orthopedic surgeon uses art to personalize casts for kids

Each cast is individualized with a unique drawing chosen by the child.
Posted at 5:11 PM, Apr 12, 2023

After Dr. Felicity Fishman finishes a surgery, there's one final touch that makes her process unique.

"We've done some great baby yodas ... a lot of dinosaurs," said Doctor Fishman, a hand and upper extremity surgeon at Shriners Children's Chicago.

All of the art is drawn with special, safe markers.

"Really it only takes 10 to 15 minutes and we're very conscientious about that," Dr. Fishman said.

"The cost of the pens and a little time is really inconsequential when you get to see the kids almost enjoy the experience," she said.

Dr. Fishman has been doing this for a couple years now with the help of nurses and the rest of her surgery team.

She originally got the idea after her fellowship, where her mentor used glitter to personalize casts after surgeries. One of her fellows recommended buying pens that might work on a cast. She's now been doing these special drawings for a couple years.

"Surgery is scary when you are the patient, and when you're a child and a lot of those decisions are being made for you, it's nice to have something in which they can be included, so they can take back a little bit of control on that day," Dr. Fishman said.

Popular TV characters, snowmen, trains, you name it. Dr. Fishman has expanded the artistic possibilities for kids.

"Learning all the different types of dinosaurs because these kids are very knowledgeable, not just any dinosaur will do. It has to be the specific type they want," she said.

"It's definitely gotten more intricate as we've gone on, as kids' requests have become even more specialized," Dr. Fishman said.

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