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Friends of the London help scanning subjects

Few people who find themselves having an MRI scan like to complain: after all, if you’re having an MRI scan, it’s probably saving your life – or at least helping you to improve the quality of your life. However, some patients – particularly children – find the experience of having an MRI scan very difficult to endure, as it can be very claustrophobic.

When local charity The Friends of the Royal London heard about the problem, they put their heads together – and, £15,000 later – they’ve come up with a handy solution. A special bit of hi-tech gear will capture the image of a DVD from a wall and send it over to a pair of mirrored spectacles which a patient can wear inside the MRI scanner. Headphones are provided for patient to hear the soundtrack, and it ends up that the patient is watching a film from the Royal London’s film library!

In most cases, this helps the nervous or claustrophobic patient relax and endure the scan without the need for medication – which is good for the hospital’s drugs budget, but also clinically very much better for the patient. It’s not that it was a huge problem: before the projector gizmo came along, probably only a dozen or so patients (half children, half adults) needed medication to help them combat feelings of claustrophobia and stay still enough to have an effective scan.

Specialist Registrar in Radiology, Charlotte Roberts explained: “We are delighted to be able to offer an MRI scan with incorporated DVD viewer. Using general anaesthetic and sedation can carry a risk for patients so it is fantastic that we can now offer watching films as a safer alternative to help people relax, as well as making the experience more welcoming for children. We are very grateful for the support of Friends of The Royal London Hospital.”

Chairman of Friends of The Royal London Hospital Dr Anthea McEwan said: “It is fantastic that our fundraising efforts have enabled us to provide The Royal London Hospital with such an important piece of new technology. We are proud to support the Radiology team in improving the experience for their patients.”

The Charity Friends of The Royal London Hospital is looking to recruit more volunteers, affectionately known as “trolley dollies”, to give a few hours of their week to take a trolley containing everyday essentials around the wards and provide a friendly chat to patients, brightening their day. Volunteers are particularly needed on Mondays and Tuesday and on Saturday and Sunday mornings. For more information about this, please contact HonorCousesn@live.co.uk.

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