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Central Missouri Credit Unions Donate $44,000 Video Goggles to Children's Hospital

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Kids at Children's Hospital can now watch their favorite movies while having an MRI scan performed, helping to give doctors clear images for diagnosing and treating their patients. More than a dozen mid-Missouri credit unions raised funds to purchase a set of $44,000 MRI-compatible video goggles and headphones.

"We appreciate this generous donation from credit unions of central Missouri," said Keri Simon, C.P.A, M.H.A., executive director of Women's and Children's Hospital. "Support like this from our community helps us provide family friendly care to children throughout our state. These MRI goggles will help make kids' time in the hospital a bit more fun."

Women's and Children's hospital performs 2,500 to 2,700 MRI scans of children each year. To have an MRI scan, a patient must lie still for up to an hour or more. For children, it can be difficult to stay still for that long, so they sometimes must be given sedative medications for the scan. But with the new goggles, sedation often can be avoided by distracting the children.

Because the goggles surround the eyes entirely, children see only the cartoon or movie they are watching. Noise-canceling headphones quiet the noise of the magnets that create the MRI image, and a child can focus on the entertainment and forget about the MRI scan. When an MRI technician wants to talk to the child, the sight and voice of the technician replace those of the movie, which is paused for the conversation.

The hospital has a growing collection of DVDs from which kids can choose, or they can bring a favorite movie from home. The video is streamed from a DVD player through fiber optic cables, which don't interfere with the MRI like metal wires.

Beginning in the fall of 2011, more than a dozen members of the Missouri Credit Union Association Central Chapter held bake sales and other events to raise money to buy the goggles.

"A lot of families at our credit union have kids who have had MRIs at Children's Hospital, so we know MRIs can be a scary experience," said Cindy Campbell, assistant vice president of retail operations for Missouri Credit Union. "We saw the need, and wanted to help - the MRI goggles make going to the hospital a little better for the kids."