Starlight Gaming Station Reduces Pain Meds for Teen During Burst Appendix

When 14-year-old Kian suffered a burst appendix that left him reeling in pain, he was admitted to Tarzana Medical Center.  

It was winter break, a time for the family to relax. Instead, Kian’s mom, Renee, and the hospital staff had to try and find ways to ease his severe abdominal pain.  

Then rolled in the Starlight Gaming Station.  

“The day that he got it, I remember he was screaming and crying in pain, and the child life specialist said that they had a console that could help. I thought, no, a video game is not going to help him right now, we need to give him morphine,” Renee said. “But before we knew it, we gave him the controller, and he was fine with just Tylenol. It was unbelievable.” 

Kian in the hospital playing on a Starlight gaming station

Tiffany, the child life specialist at Tarzana Medical Center who brought in the gaming station, said she saw a shift in his demeanor, and his sister joined in on the fun!  

“In hearing about his experience playing, he had his sister duel him and was in more positive spirits than before,” Tiffany said.  

Tarzana Medical Center currently has one Starlight Gaming Station. After Renee saw the direct impact on her child, she wanted to make sure other kids didn’t have to wait to use one. So, she generously donated a Starlight Nintendo Switch Station to Tarzana that will be arriving at the hospital soon. 

Starlight Nintendo Switch gaming station

“It was just such a beautiful thing to have in the hospital that could redirect his attention to something other than his pain,” Renee said.  

“The console provides not just a distraction for our kids who are hospitalized, but a therapeutic outlet for kids to be kids...teens to be teens. As we are a smaller hospital setting, some of our rooms are shared between patients. The gamepad has created opportunities for socialization between patient roommates,” Tiffany said.  

Kian had a few complications with the appendectomy, which left the family in and out of the hospital for almost five weeks. He’s doing well now, and things are getting back to normal.  

A child should never have to go through the same pain that Kian experienced, but it’s reassuring to know that a Starlight Gaming Station could deliver happiness during that scary time.  

Tiffany, who finds herself enjoying the gaming station with her patients as well, is grateful for this donation because of how popular it is!  

“We are always utilizing our gaming stations in both our pediatric and pediatric intensive care units. There is often a wait for the gaming station,” said Tiffany. 

If there’s a local children’s hospital that you’d like to donate a Starlight program to or fundraise for, get started today.

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