Felicity Fishman at Shriners Children’s Chicago casts

Kids who leave Chicago Hospital have found something even better to have on their casts than their friends’ signatures: Elsa from “Frozen,” Lightning McQueen, dinosaurs, SpongeBob and Patrick, a shark, Captain America’s shield and even more fun animated characters. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Felicity Fishman at Shriners Children’s Chicago also doubles as an artist. Following their surgeries, children will receive a fun art piece of their choosing.

The process to draw on their cast is the main show — even more time and planning goes into it than the surgery. Before the surgery, the doctor, physician’s assistant and nurses will talk to families about what their child might want so they have something to look forward to instead or being nervous for the procedure. Then the pre-op nurses will prepare marker colors and help plan the outline. Finally, Dr. Fishman brings the art to life.

The simple happiness this process brings to the children and staff has been invaluable. These designs also give the children a sense of choice and bodily autonomy in a scary situation for them before surgery. The simplest tasks can bring about the most joy, and this doctor and her team are doing their part not only to fix physical injuries, but also to bring about joy in their part of Illinois.