Larry Grossman enchants his patientsDr. Larry B. Grossman...


January 29, 1995|By Suzanna Stephens

Larry Grossman enchants his patients

Dr. Larry B. Grossman, chief of the department of anesthesiology at Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown, brings magic to pediatric medicine. Armed with puppets, simple magic tricks and a bright pink fanny-pack full of balloons, Dr. Grossman turns pre-operative anesthesia into a positive experience.

Dr. Grossman, 47, began using magic in pediatric treatment during his residency at Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania. He says children are captivated by magic and clowning skills. "Basic tricks, balloon animals and puppets can easily allay fears, establish rapport, distract and change an unhappy face into a large smile," he says.

Dr. Grossman's repertoire includes magic coloring books, balloon animals and a newly developed scarf trick involving candy. "I've always had an interest in magic," says Dr. Grossman, who is a self-taught magician.

By involving a young patient in a magic trick or puppet show, Dr. Grossman pulls the child's focus away from the hospital activity while he talks to the parents about the medical procedure. "What I'm doing is serious. It's a serious job," he says.

Dr. Grossman's technique has created magical results throughout the medical profession. He presented an exhibit titled "Tricks 'R' for Kids: Magical Methods for Allaying Fears and Anxiety in Pediatric Patients" at two medical conferences. He says that while the most fun is doing magic with kids, it's also enjoyable to see how receptive other professionals are to his technique. "I've had about 300 different inquiries about it. People are still writing me. My colleagues are telling me they're buying more magic coloring books than textbooks."

Ask most little kids where food comes from, and they'll say the grocery store. Even Blake Schindler, 4, who lives in Cockeysville, surrounded by farmland, hadn't made the connection that the tractors and combines he loved to watch had something to do with the cereal and bread at the grocery store.

RTC So his mother, Patti, explained it to him -- as well as hundreds of other children -- in their medium of choice, video. "Tractors, Combines and Things on the Grow," features Blake and his cousin, Kathryn Reagan, also 4, following an entire growing cycle from planting to harvest at a friend's farm.

Mrs. Schindler, a stay-at-home mom, got the idea to make the video after she and Blake were invited to watch the harvest at Lippy Brothers farm in Carroll County.

"I found it fascinating," says Mrs. Schindler, "and my son liked it because the machines were loud and big."

Although she has no filmmaking experience, she realized the subject would make an educational yet action-filled video for children. Using her family's own money -- "My husband won't let me say how much," she says with a laugh -- she hired camera operators, arranged for file footage from industry groups, wrote a script and filmed periodically from April through November. She's also doing the marketing herself, contacting various stores and catalogs and advertising in local publications.

So far, she's sold a couple of thousand copies of the tape and hopes to take on other subjects as well through her recently formed company: just our size videos.

The video can be ordered for $19.95 plus $3.95 for shipping and handling; call (800) 808-FARM.

Jean Marbella

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