Wagons and Wheels for our Youngest Patients

By Juno Ogle | Photos by Jolie Green
Used with permission

A trip to the hospital can create anxiety for anyone, but children at HaysMed can drive the stress away by wheeling through the hallways.

In December, the Wonder Women League, an affliate of the United Way of Ellis County, joined with HaysMed, the HaysMed Foundation, and several businesses to offcially introduce the Wagons and Wheels Project. A Hays Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting gave the public a look at the red wagons and motorized vehicles that children will be able to ride during their stay at HaysMed.

Photo by Jolie Green, HAYS DAILY NEWS
Mackayla Karst rides in on one of the motorized cars given to Hays Medical Center by the Wonder Women League for children to ride in while staying in the hospital as part of their “Wagons and Wheels” project.

The red wagons are equipped with IV poles and are used to transport children who are in the hospital for a long stay, such as after surgery. Getting out of the hospital room can help relieve boredom and stress, but can be diffcult with the IV pole and pump. The IV pole for the wagon, called Chad’s Bracket, was created by Roger Leggett, whose granddaughter was treated for a brain tumor at a Georgia hospital. He and one of his sons, Chad, saw a woman transporting her child in a wagon while trying to wrangle his IV, and talked about a way to make that easier for parents. Chad died soon after, and Leggett designed the attachment in his memory, working with Children’s Hospital of Atlanta to make it safe to use.

In working with hospital administrators, the Wonder Women League realized HaysMed had different needs also. “We learned the majority of their patients are not long-term,” said Wonder Women Legue Co-chair Nancy Jeter. “Most of their pediatric patients are in and out the same day. Most of those are tonsillectomies, ear canals and drawing blood.” Members of the Wonder Women committee thought it would be fun for the children to hop into a car brought by the nurse and “drive” to their procedure. The cars are actually steered by a nurse with a remote control.

Three area car dealers —Auto World, Hays Chevrolet, and Lewis Automotive — were quick to donate the $500 cost of each vehicle. “The cars are made to a higher quality than those that can be purchased through retail, and the remote control equipment was included,” Jeter said. RD Graphics created license plates for the vehicles, and Commercial Sign created a vinyl mural for an alcove where the cars will be parked. The mural features a Main Street scene featuring the logos of the organizations involved with the project on the buildings’ signs.