By Mitch Hill

The process of an MRI for a little kid is extremely intimidating. This creates an unnecessary amount of anxiety for a little kid. Kids are anxious to the point of necessary sedation just to complete the process. MRI rooms should be painted to suit a child so that it lowers their anxiety, which lowers the rate at which children need to be sedated. The less anxiety, the cheaper and healthier the These MRI’s will be for the child and their families.

These sterile and uninviting MRI rooms and machines are very intimidating for a little kid. These uninviting, cold, sterile rooms create a lot of anxiety. Most children that have to get MRI’s are actively fighting cancer. The more anxious the child, the more suppressed their immune system is and this is less than ideal for someone who has cancer. The more anxious the kid then the higher the chance is for them to get sedated just to complete the MRI. If a kid needs to be sedated then an anesthesiologist needs to come into give the child an anesthetic. All of this feeds into the cost of the MRI, which is raising year by year.

I am passionate about this because of the experiences I have had with these MRI’s. I have had 36 MRI’s due to a brain tumor that I had when I was a little boy. I had to be sedated for about 32 of said MRI’s due to how worked up I was about the whole process. I never had the opportunity to go into an MRI room that was painted with a story. Instead I had to walk into a room, with my teddy bear, IV and wires attached to my chest only to walk up to a dark, cold, loud machine ten times the size of me. Sedation was a necessity due to my angst.

It is my hope that these rooms be painted to tell a story. An example of this would be having the walls of the MRI room be a jungle while having the outer layer of the MRI machine being a cave. So instead of a kid having to get an MRI in an intimidating MRI machine, they are entering a journey through the jungle and into the cave. MRI machines cannot physically be painted because the outer layers of the machine have to be washed quite frequently. Because of this, it is quite expensive to customize specific layers of the MRI machines to show a design. GE (General Electric) have a program where they fund this. To my knowledge, they are the only ones doing this right now because of the cost. It is my hope that other organizations come together to fund similar projects.

If we can get as many rooms in hospitals painted for these kids then we’ll see them come into these MRI’s with less anxiety. In turn this will make the process more comfortable for them and will make it cheaper for their family without the need for sedation.