WICHITA – Imagine lying flat on your back in a long, confined tube surrounded by loud banging noises and echoes all around you. You are told to lie still in that machine and not move for at least an hour.
Now imagine you’re 6 years old.
This was the impossible task facing Wesley Medical Center patient Sophia Poe, 6, whose MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans require near-perfect stillness for up to two hours or more depending on the images needed. If there’s movement or fidgeting, the images can become blurred and difficult for technicians and doctors to read.
“The last time was her first time without sedation, and we had four or five scans that we had to re-do. That’s compared to this time with the movie, where we only had to re-do one,” said Sherry Poe, Sophia’s mother. “I think these goggles gave her less anxiety and will make her more willing to come back next time.”
Sophia was one of Wesley’s first patients to try out its new Cinemavision goggles, a state-of-the-art, $44,000 entertainment system that allows pediatric patients to watch DVD movies, cable TV or iPad videos or listen to music while their MRIs are being conducted. The system helps eliminate claustrophobia and scan loss in an MRI, as well as reduces the need to sedate children for the procedure.
MRI technologists can communicate via a microphone with the child and can also project a video image of themselves in the goggles so the child can see who is talking, helping to reduce anxiety.
“When kids are coming in for an MRI, it’s a big, scary machine, they have to go inside it, and they can’t always see their parents,” said Emily Doyle, Wesley child life specialist. “Then they’re told to hold still for a super long time with really loud noises. That’s a lot to take on.”
Looking at ways to make MRIs easier for children, Doyle began researching the goggles last year. Additional help came by way of the Wesley Medical Center Auxiliary, a volunteer organization that plays a critical role in providing volunteer hours, scholarships and project grants for the hospital. The auxiliary paid for the entire grant request, which included money for installation and training.
“This project is really great for the kids,” auxiliary president Marsha Rogers said. “They will be able to be less sedated or not at all, which is the key for little kids who already have so much going on.”
Wesley is one of the first hospitals in south-central Kansas to offer this new and innovative technology.
“We know that hospital visits can be frightening for some children,” said Brad Bowren, Wesley’s director of radiology. “We want our patients to be at ease and have the best experience possible. This technology helps us do just that.”
Sophia happily watched the Disney movie Frozen during her MRI last month and the experience “was cool and less scary than last time,” she said.
For more information about Wesley Medical Center and its imaging services, please visit www.wesleymc.com.
Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER and Galichia ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, WesleyCare Clinics and the Pediatric Center of Kansas. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.