Eight-year-old hospital patient uses miniature Tesla to drive to surgery


Video shows the moment an “excited” eight-year-old patient used a mini Tesla car to drive from her ward to the operating theatre for surgery.

Juno is the first of many children on the Kingfisher Ward at Dorset County Hospital able to use the electric vehicle, which doctors have commended for its ability to reduce stress in young patients.

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The car is a scale version of the Tesla Model S and comes with an MP3 sound system which allows children to listen to their favourite song as they drive.

It was donated to the hospital by R Symons Ltd after Dr Jon Chambers approached the Tesla Owners Club.

“Going to an operating theatre is an anxious time for everyone, adult or child,” said the consultant anaesthetist.

“With children, reducing the stress associated with having an operation is particularly important.

“To be able to turn what is a scary journey from the ward to the operating theatre into something fun can have a really positive effect on the children, both then and for the future.”

Juno in the driving seat of the Tesla, surrounded by staff
Juno in the driving seat of the Tesla, surrounded by staff

Juno’s mum, Shelley Wilson, said her daughter “loved driving in the mini Tesla” and it was “a real high point” in her stay.

“It was an exciting distraction from feeling poorly and really lifted her mood,” she said.

“Afterwards Juno said she can’t wait to get a car and learn how to drive.”

Dr Chambers decided to organise the vehicle after seeing them working well in other hospitals.

He added: “Our main challenge will be getting them out of the car when they reach their destination!”

Juno driving the car in the ward
Juno driving the car in the ward

Richard Symons, from R Symons Ltd, said it was an “absolute pleasure” to provide the car to the hospital.

“Tesla owners all over the UK have contributed thousands of pounds from their own pocket to fund dozens of these cars,” said Mr Symons.

“Owners have then stored them and distributed throughout the UK, all totally independent of Tesla themselves.

“It’s an amazing cause and we are very proud to be a part of it.”