By Turning Medical Tests Into Adventures, Doctors Are Turning Children's Fear Into Fun

Diply 8 Nov 2017

Medical scans are super stressful no matter how old you are. Besides already worrying about possible results, many of the big machines are overwhelming and strange.

Now imagine you're a young child. Even if you may not fully understand what's going on, you know one thing for sure: the big, noisy machine is pretty darn scary.

Most MRI scanners are designed for purpose, not looks. 

Flickr | liz west

It's kind of like being swallowed by a dark tunnel, which freaks me out and I'm over 30!

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It was witnessing a scared child before a scan that made GE Heathcare industrial designer Doug Dietz decide he wanted to try something new.

Flickr | GE Heathcare

For terrified children, laying perfectly still for up to 30 minutes is impossible, resulting in children needing to be sedated.

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Prior to the test, the hospital was sedating nearly all children who required an MRI, and more than 80% of those needing a shorter CT scan.

Flickr | GE Heathcare

Kathleen Kapsin, the hospital's radiology director, knew that scanning without anaesthesia was both safer and faster, so she was looking for ways to lessen the need for it.

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The project is now called the Adventure Series, with different themes such as pirate adventures, flights into space, and jungle safaris. 

Flickr | GE Heathcare

Besides decking out the rooms and machines in the most adorable decor, the project focuses on immersing the child in the story.

The day of the tests, the children are given stories and coloring books connected with the adventure they'll be a part of, and while in the machine, they're fitted with special goggles that play related videos.

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While initially skeptical, the technicians quickly noticed the change in the children and began getting into the act. 

Flickr | GE Heathcare

They matched their scrubs to the theme, role-played with the children, and even began picking out toys to include.

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