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Singing Pediatrician Takes Pain Out Of Doctor’s Visits

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Westchester pediatrician Dr. Peter Michel uses singing and funny routines to lighten the mood when kids come to visit.

Westchester pediatrician Dr. Peter Michel uses singing and funny routines to lighten the mood when kids come to visit.

CBS New York (con't)

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MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Every parent knows that taking children to the doctor’s office is not a lot of fun, but what if you’re child actually looked forward to going?

CBS 2’s Whit Johnson spoke to a Westchester pediatrician whose patients are singing his praises.

Pediatrician Peter Richel has developed a unique treatment for doctor’s office anxiety – cheerful singing and funny routines that help ease the pain of his young patients.

“He is a little bit too funny,” four-year-old Zayaan said.

For Zayaan and his younger brother Danyaal, a dose of laughter is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Known affectionately as Dr. Pete, Richel is chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York.

“It’s an easy thing to do, and it soothes them and makes them less fearful of coming to the office,” Dr. Pete said.

Songs like “Tyrus the Virus” and “Is there Strep Below?” combine Dr. Pete’s love of music with his desire to heal. The songs aren’t just for entertainment, though – they also educate kids about their bodies, and walk them through the check-up so there are no surprises.

“If we are always open and honest with them and prepare them, they will be better-suited, and they will be less afraid,” Dr. Pete said.

The fun makes the trip to the doctor a little easier for parents, too.

“He has a way of changing their moods from cranky to being pretty happy,” Riz Hussain said.

In fact, the toughest part of the trip is often convincing the kids that it’s time to go home.

Dr. Pete says he considered a life in theater, but chose medical school instead.

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