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Arts and Casts invites a local artist to USA Health Orthopaedic Surgery once a week to brighten the day for young patients who are recovering from fractures.

Published May 9th, 2024

By Carol McPhail

While Jayde Thrash, 10, waited for a cast to be applied to her right arm at USA Health Orthopaedic Surgery, she got an unexpected bonus. She learned that she could get her cast painted with the artwork of her choice.

“The lady who did her cast told us about it,” said her mom, Chassity Thrash. “She’s getting a fairy princess.”

At a table set up in the waiting area, an artist soon put the finishing touches on Jayde’s fairy princess, adding pigtails, a crown, a pink leotard and skirt, and bright blue wings. The colors matched the flowered pattern built into Jayde’s cast.

“I love making the kids feel better,” said the artist, Rae Carlson, who works as a patient access associate at the specialty clinic, located at the Strada Patient Care Center. “It makes me happy to add a little color to the day and get creative.”

The idea behind the cast painting project, dubbed Arts and Casts, is to bring in local artists once a week to brighten the day for young patients who are recovering from fractures.

“It makes the casting experience more kid friendly,” said nurse practitioner Amber Wicker, CPNP-PC, who sees pediatric patients in the Orthopaedic Surgery clinic. “Everyone is delighted.”

Wicker proposed the idea after a patient arrived for a checkup with a mermaid painted on her cast by a teacher. “I thought, ‘We could do that,’” she said.

Department secretary Shana Jones took the idea and ran with it, ordering art supplies and recruiting volunteer artists. Carlson, the patient access associate, created a menu showcasing the options: “Cast Away” marine creatures, “Once Upon a Broken Bone” fairy tale characters, “Out of This World” space graphics, “Critter Casts” bugs and insects, “We Dig Bones” dinosaurs, and “Wild About Ortho” animals.

Now, on Arts and Casts days, there’s a bit more fun for pediatric patients in the cast room. “They are looking at the menu to see what they want,” Wicker said. “It gives the kids something to look forward to.”

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