Child Facing Surgery? There's an App For That.
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Child Facing Surgery? There’s an App For That.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital has long been a leader in techniques to demystify surgery for its young patients and their parents. I remember back in the seventies doing a story on a doll hospital staff used to prepare children for their first surgery and to show them what to expect when they wake up in the Recovery unit. Cutting edge at the time, the doll has been replaced by an iPad app. My First Surgery.

My First Surgery was an idea submitted by pediatric surgeon Robert Baird for a McGill University mobile app development challenge, organized by the McGill Centre for Biomedical Innovation. He came up with the idea of My First Surgery to improve the experience of his patients as they prepare, undergo and recover from an operation. The ultimate hope is that the app may improve efficiency and may reduce misunderstandings that result in OR cancellations. As a parent of children who have undergone procedures, he believes that this app will play an important role in making an operation as smooth and easy as it can be for children and their parents. The simplicity and necessity of the idea convinced the judges to support development of the app. Over the course of 6 months, Dr. Baird worked with the team of software developers, graphic designers and a number of generous volunteers to help make this idea come to life .

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My First Surgery when used in cooperation with a child’s surgeon will help reduce anxiety for both the patient and parent. The interactive app breaks down each step by explaining what will happen before, during and after the surgery.


– “Child view” with 5 easy-to-use scenes featuring interactive characters and equipment;
– Your child’s picture can be embedded within your app for a personalized experience;
– “Parent View” providing tips and information every parent should know prior to the date of surgery;
– Embedded videos by a practicing pediatric surgeon provide additional information about what to expect.

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My First Surgery is a free download from the Apple App Store. For those who may not have access to an iPad, much of the content is available on the My First Surgery Website


Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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