But Bryan was not at a movie premiere. He was undergoing an MRI at the El Paso Children’s Hospital while wearing special goggles that play movies.
“It’s pretty advanced technology,” Bryan said. “With the goggles you can see the movie like you’re in a theater. It was cool. I even forgot I was getting tested.”
The El Paso Children’s Hospital has started using Resonance Technology’s CinemaVision goggles to make the MRI exam a positive scanning experience.
“I was a little nervous about it at first,” Bryan acknowledged. “When they first started the machine, it kept on making all these sounds. I actually thought it was the ‘Transformers’ movie, so I didn’t get nervous. I thought it was part of the movie. At the end of the MRI, I don’t want to go; I wanted to finish the movie.”
Before the hospital started using the 2-inch LCD screen goggles, patients had to go under anesthesia or sedation.
“This is huge,” said Dr. Chetan Moorthy, the head pediatric radiologist at El Paso Children’s Hospital. “There is nowhere else that would do an MRI on a 4-year-old without anesthesia or sedation. We’ve done five or six kids in this age group that normally, in this town and hospitals across the country, would have had to put the patient to sleep.”
With the goggles, patients feel less isolated and confined, which makes them relax during the MRI.
“I’ve been here 15 years, and all of these kids had to be sedated,” Moorthy said. “We are talking about 45 minutes to an hour of just laying there. Now, with the goggles, they are watching a movie and staying still. Plus, it doesn’t interfere with the MRI at all.”
Patients have their choice of many age-appropriate movies such as “Lion King,” “Iron Man,” “Cars” and “Toy Story.” There are also animal documentary DVDs from National Geographic.
MRI is short for “magnetic resonance imaging.” It is a procedure used to scan patients and determine the severity of certain injuries using magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body.
“An MRI will expose if you’re claustrophobic or not,” Moorthy said. “That thing is right there in your face, and the escape is way down there, and you start breathing fast. Claustrophobia is very common in an MRI; add that, on top of a kid being scared, it’s not good.”
Resonance technology uses special parts that are compatible with an MRI.
“Once the kids get in there, they all have different reactions,” said Dr. Aaron Ross, a pediatric radiologist at El Paso Children’s Hospital. “You can have a 5-year-old girl who gets in there and goes to sleep and she is very cool. Then you have a 17-year-old football player who you think is going to be fine, but once he gets in there, he freaks out.”
The goggles, which cost $49,000, include a headset and a microphone command that enables communication between the patient and a tech.
The headsets are built with a noise cancellation system that blocks out the machine noise.
“This was a gift from Children’s Miracle Network,” said Dennece Knight, executive director of the University Medical Center Foundation. “Children’s Miracle Network dollars are raised $1 at a time, and every dollar raised in our community stays in our community for uses like this.”
Lawrence Duncan, the CEO of El Paso Children’s Hospital, said equipment such as the CinemaVision goggles improves the standard of care.
“When you take care of kids — especially in an MRI setting, when they’re going into a dark tube that makes a lot of noise — you need them to be still,” he said. “You prefer not to sedate them or at least use minimal sedation, so this gift allows us to distract the kids and keep them entertained.”
From a donation standpoint, Duncan said, any time an organization such as the Children’s Miracle Network can help the El Paso Children’s Hospital, it’s a great thing.
“We are not a taxing entity, so as a private nonprofit, we are only successful if we are fiscally successful,” he said. “So the more donations we receive and not have to spend our existing capital, we can use that money towards other things.”
But the bottom line is how it makes the patient and the family feel.
“At first, I don’t want him to do the MRI because I thought it had too much radiation,” said Maria Gallegos, Bryan Adame’s mother. “But when I came here, they gave me information and explained to me how it would be OK.”
Then doctors also told her about the CinemaVision goggles.
“I didn’t want him to go through an MRI if they had to sedate him,” she said. “As a mother, I was afraid that he wouldn’t wake up. There is always that concern. But with the goggles, I knew it was going to be OK. As mothers, we only want the best for our children.”
Victor R. Martinez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6128. Follow him on Twitter @vrmart.