Kids and Surgery

Doctors operate on 3 million children each year. Here's how to keep the trauma to a minimum

Surgery is scary enough for adults. but imagine what goes through the mind of a three-year-old when he sees a doctor or nurse all suited up and wearing a surgical mask: "It's a monster! It's got big eyes and no mouth! It's taking me away from Mommy and Daddy." No wonder half of all children from the ages of 2 to 10 show evidence of distress--from bed-wetting to nightmares--for at least two weeks after their operation. Some of them remain traumatized even six months later.

It doesn't have to be this way. Many children will respond to straightforward explanations about their...

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