Doctors Perform Great Pumpkin Surgery


Doctors performing an "operation" on giant pumpkins

The curriculum in the Shriners Hospital School took on a Halloween theme when Shriners Hospital doctors performed the “Great Pumpkin Surgery”. The demonstration was a special Halloween treat for patients and parents at the Northern California hospital.

David Greenhalgh, M.D., chief of burns, brought his operating room team to the school to perform surgery on a pumpkin in need of a Halloween makeover. Assisting with the procedure were pediatric anesthesiologist Sundeep Tumber, D.O., Bre Weatherman, R.N., and Kurt Hardaway, a surgical technician.

Two patients were called to the pumpkin operating room from special assistance. Dr. Greenhalgh and his team transformed the pumpkin – giving it eyes, hair, a nose and more. The pumpkin surgery is part
of a special Halloween lesson plan that focuses on math and the surgical process.

“The surgery is for the kids and surgeons to have a little fun with a sometimes scary procedure,” says Margaret Kugler, school program coordinator. “The kids participate in preparing the pumpkins to be
ready and not afraid of the surgery. They also have fun dressing up in gowns and assisting the doctors by pulling seeds out of the pumpkins.”

Following the surgery, kids in the school were able to practice their math skills to count the number of pumpkin seeds removed from the pumpkin. The Shriners Hospital School is a joint project of Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Sacramento City Unified School District. Located inside the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento, the school provides bilingual education for Kindergarten through 12th grade. Special programs include vocational education, school re-entry programs and pumpkin surgery lessons to celebrate Halloween. The on-site public school allows children to keep up with their schoolwork while hospitalized.

The Northern California Shriners Hospital opened its doors to children in April 1997. Since then more than 80,000 children have been accepted for care, and the hospital has expanded its programs to meet the specialized needs of children. Treatment specialties include pediatric orthopaedics, burns, spinal cord injury, plastic surgery, and pediatric surgery. The hospital also is home to a collaborative scientific research program known as the Institute of Pediatric Regenerative Medicine (IPRM). Any child under 18 is eligible for care provided the child’s condition is within the scope of services offered. All care is
provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Contact: Catherine Curran | (916) 453-2218 |