Art­ful casts help give Seat­tle kids a boost

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Seat­tle Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal sur­gi­cal tech Cyndy Gluck has found a new way to in­cor­po­rate art into the art of heal­ing by craft­ing small im­ages to cus­tom­ize kids’ casts.

“It’s some­thing that evolved un­in­ten­tion­ally,” Gluck told Seat­tle TV sta­tion KING, say­ing that a doc­tor was about to put a cast on a dis­traught lit­tle boy. “And I said, ‘Well, what col­ors?’ And he said, ‘He wants blue and green’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, does he like the Sea­hawks?’ and he said ‘Yeah!’, so that’s kinda how it got started.”

Gluck crafts with coban—a type of ban­dage sur­geons use for com­pres­sion—which has a lim­ited color range but is ex­tremely pli­able.

As the des­ig­nated OR artist-in­res­i­dence, she has made ev­ery­thing from bun­nies to Darth Vader and keeps a book stuffed with her cre­ations for oth­ers to use on her days off. Her cast adorn­ments are so pop­u­lar that some chil­dren save them af­ter their cast is re­moved. Nine-year-old Mag­gie Burke broke her el­bow do­ing gym­nas­tics and Gluck’s art showed a gym­nast on a bal­ance beam; the cast art now re­sides in a frame in her home.

Mag­gie re­calls wak­ing up to her cus­tom cast: “You know, I was re­ally scared, and with the art­work on it was like, oh my gosh that’s so cool!” It cheered Mag­gie’s mom Odilia as well: “We saw the art­work on it and, re­ally, it was so touch­ing. . . . She was very sad be­cause she would be out of gym­nas­tics for awhile. And just for some­one to be that thought­ful . . . it was an in­spi­ra­tion.”

Cyndy Gluck cus­tom­izes the cast art for each lit­tle pa­tient.

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