PARENTAL SUPERVISION ADVISED: These dolls were designed for use with children by medical professionals, not as toys. Each doll's abdomen can be opened up to show human anatomy. If you are squeamish, skip this post! Children viewing this should do so in the company of a parent.
I was a biology major in college. Anatomy was fun and fascinating! I wanted a career in the medical field but wasn't sure what I wanted to do. It took me a while to get there, but I ended up in the field of nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I spent almost off of my career working in pediatrics.
I made Surgical Suzie on a whim, years before I went to school for nursing. I'd already made a few dolls (see Fabric Dolls--Episode Two) so I decided to see if I could make a doll with "guts"! The answer was yes!
Surgical Suzie's trunk unbuttons to reveal her internal organs. She has bronchi and lungs and a heart in her chest. In her abdomen, there is stomach, small intestines, large intestines, liver, kidneys and a bladder. She is 16 inches tall.
The father of a friend was a pediatrician. He thought Surgical Suzie was great! She lived at his office for a while. Surgical Suzie is such a sweetie that she just never seemed scary to any of the children I shared her with. I wasn't using her professionally. The kids were friends and family They would all go wide-eyed when I opened her up to reveal her organs. They'd be quiet for a minute but then became totally engaged as we took her apart and talked about her insides.
Of all the dolls I've made over the years, Surgical Suzie is the only doll I kept. She's enchanting, just as a doll.
This is Timothy. He's the size of Toddler and wears size 2T children's clothes. I designed him after I'd become a Nurse Practitioner. I had worked for several years at a children's hospital and then moved to primary care pediatrics at a large Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). I made Timothy for the Child Life Specialist who worked in the Pediatric Departments across the HMO. By this time I had a good idea about what medical procedures were really stressful for children. Young children learn by looking and touching. They can't follow a lot of talking explanations. Showing a child what is going to happen and letting them do it too, helps to decrease anxiety. Decreasing anxiety helps the child better cope and better cooperate with what needs to be done.
A child can do a whole physical exam on Timothy. He can have his temperature taken orally or rectally. His ears are open to allow them to be examined with an otoscope. One ear is bright red (see below) and clearly infected, the other ear is pink and fine. He has tonsils in his mouth. One is pink and fine, the one show below looks like a strep infection. The infected tonsil is attached to the throat by velcro and can be removed, as it would be in a tonsillectomy.
He has blue veins in one arm so he could have his blood taken and on the back of a hand for an IV.
Timothy has the same internal organs as Surgical Suzie, with the addition of an appendix.
He also has male genitalia. He can be used to explain how a bladder is catheterized. He is also designed to explain a couple of common surgical procedures that young boys sometimes need.
Our Child Life Specialist found Timothy to be a great tool. When the budget at the HMO got tight and her position was eliminated, she took Timothy with her. He deserved to be used, not sitting in a chair at my house!
The body construction for both Surgical Suzie and Timothy was based on the dolls I had created for play. While Surgical Suzie is basically a 2-D doll, Timothy has a 3-D head. My pattern for Timothy's head was based on the head construction of the Blue Ridge Mountain Doll. Both are made of cotton-poly fabrics. The heart, lungs and one of Timothy's tonsils are fabrics from Marblehead Handprints. Both dolls have polyester yarn hair stitched on in a Loop-and-Lock technique.
I loved the challenge of making both of these dolls. It was fun, twice. But I don't plan to ever make another doll with guts!