Staff at Barcelona’s Sant Joan de Déu hospital have teamed up with American IT and printing multinational HP to come up with a more child-friendly way of carrying out magnetic resonance imaging.
Together they’ve turned the paediatrics unit carrying out the intimidating scans into a futuristic space centre.
“We wanted to make the children believe they were part of the crew preparing to enter a spaceship,” HP communications manager Eva Blanco said.
The company has used the latest in latex printing to decorate the once bland and lifeless walls and equipment with huge images of stars, planets and astronauts.
For babies and young children, chemical sedation or general anaesthesia are usually the norm, as children can’t be expected to hold completely still during the MRI session, especially if they’re nervous.
These can have occasional side effects on a child's health such as nausea and dizziness and on very rare occasions can even lead to brain damage.
“Radiology units are very intimidating for children, they feel anxious and don’t cooperate,” Doctor Terasa Maristany told Catalan daily El Periódico.
“We used to have to sedate them to carry out the tests but now the kids are fascinated, more cooperative and aren’t as scared.”