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Karaoke in the burn unit

April 23rd, 2004 · No Comments

Wednesday’s Seattle Times carried this article: Art therapy engages the mind and may help heal the body

Hospitals and other medical providers now recognize that painting, music, storytelling, sculpting, theater and other forms of creative expression benefit patients and staff alike.


One of the most memorable events was created by a patient injured in a car accident. After discharge, she organized a karaoke night for about 60 patients from the burn unit and rehabilitation area.

“She came back in her wheelchair, cranked up the music, and we had an incredible night,” said Peggy Weiss, director of the Medical Center’s in-house arts program, which she started two years ago.

People were awed when a burn patient put on an incredible performance with no embarrassment. The patient’s explanation went something like this: “Look at me. I was burned over 80 percent of my body. What I’ve been through is amazing. Standing up and singing a song is nothing.”


A few weeks ago, a pregnant Rachel Mueller went into labor prematurely after all.

An injection stopped the contractions. But she had to stay in bed all day wondering and worrying whether she could make it another two weeks to give her babies “every fighting chance to cope with the outside world.”

When it was time for art class, she eagerly asked for a wheelchair and pillow — “Just so I could get out of my room and talk to the other girls.”

The project this time was making leaf prints. Her mind escaped.

“The colors reminded me of nature of being outside. … It calmed me down,” she said.

“It makes me feel almost normal.”

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