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Akron, Ohio — Dr. Robert Parry may not be a professional artist, but his work on hand-painting bandages is making waves on social media. He didn't do this to attract attention; the pediatric surgeon just wanted to brighten the day for his young patients.
"One of the challenges is to use Telfa. Telfa is not an ideal art medium," said Parry, who is also the Director of Trauma Services at Akron Children's Hospital. Telfa is an adhesive wound dressing.
Parry has been a surgeon for more than 30 years and has worked at Akron Children's Hospital for 10 years, but he also likes to be creative.
"I have always liked drawing things, so it has always been fun for me," Parry said.
Parry found a way to bring his creativity into the operating room by making custom bandages for his patients.
"I just asked them before their case: Do you have a favorite hobby? Do you have an animal you like? Video games? A sport you play? Something similar. Something you like," he said.
Then he started to be busy drawing.
Parry hopes that the personalized design will give children peace of mind.
"It makes it interesting. It distracts them. They don't have to think about what happened to the surgery. They are excited about it and don't think about the incision," Parry said.
Twenty-seven years later, after more than 10,000 patients, Parry painted many figures.
"There are Patrick (from "SpongeBob SquarePants"), dump trucks, helicopters. This is the Halloween ghoul someone wants," he said.
Some requirements are more challenging than others, such as those of Disney princesses.
Parry said: "They use Telfa to deal with facial expressions is cruel. It's crazy."
Sometimes, this picture is so cool that parents want one too.
"Father likes it. Basically, I had to cut one for him during a postoperative visit because he wanted to take it home," Parry said.
Although he does not consider himself an artist, he enjoys their smiles when his patients and their parents see their unique bandages.
"It's fun. The family likes it. They kind of understand what's going on and pick any drawings they want." Parry said. "It just makes things, you know, kind of happy."