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Darcy does it again

Darcy does it again

New equipment

Hamilton's 10-year-old Darcy Hetheron has raised over $1,100 through his mask sales. The Western District Health Service will use the donation to purchase virtual reality (VR) googles to distract children undergoing painful procedures such as needles or in theater.

In 2017, Monash University Children’s hospital reported, “Young patients can now explore the ocean and interact with friendly sea life, all while a doctor is performing medical procedures including venepuncture or the inserting an intravenous cannula. These procedures can often be upsetting for children, and for those who are accompanying them.”

Dr Erin Mills from Monash Children’s Hospital said, “VR allows users to be transported into an engaging and interactive 3D ‘virtual world’ which provides an escape from the real world where the procedure is being performed.”

Monash University are now in the late clinical stage of the trial but the 2017 article also reported, “VR has been shown to improve pain scores in patients undergoing painful procedures including burns dressing changes, blood tests and intravenous cannulation.”

Smileyscope is one Australian innovator taking the fear out of the hospital for kids.

“A recent randomised controlled trial of 252 children aged 4-11 years getting blood tests and intravenous cannulation found using VR can decrease pain by up to 60%, decrease distress by up to 75% and halves the need for restraints. This was the largest and most rigorous trial ever done using VR for a medical procedure.”

Darcy has also been recognised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his efforts. He is one of eight people the Prime Minister will hand write a Christmas card to, thanking each person for their service and strength in what has been an extremely tough year.

Darcy said it took a lot of effort, but he wanted to give back to the local community.

“It took nearly three months nearly to put the effort and the time in to making the masks, and the time after school and the morning, but it was very rewarding.”

He said it was really great to see members of the community wearing the masks.

“Yeah so it’s really exciting.. to see someone wearing something that you’ve made… like when we were walking down the street before we saw a couple wearing our masks which was really good inside to see people actually wearing them.”

“I raised $1,103 dollars for the Hospital. So I did this because I know what it sort of feels like to be in hospital because I’ve had multiple surgeries and it’s good to give back to a local community… And yeah that makes other people feel good.”

“They are using the funds for, we just got told about two weeks ago for virtual reality googles, which will help kids like when they’re getting their needles and before surgeries and just to make the hospital stay a little bit more calming and make sure the parents feel better after and just to make it … less scary for younger children and to distract them and make them feel happy and stuff and try and do the best that we can to make them happy.”

Article continues below

“So I’ve been selected for Scott Morrison’s Christmas card and so that’s eight people in Australia and I was representing Victoria for this, so I’m very lucky to have that.”

So I’m really grateful that he [Dan Tehan] said something because without him.. Scott Morrison wouldn’t have recognised me.”

Darcy Hetheron is an inspiration to the Hamilton community.

For more details about the trial and the article referenced see: https://monashchildrenshospital.org/virtual_reality_to_distract_children_during_medical_procedures/

For additional details about the VR googles see:

https://www.austrade.gov.au/digitalhealth/case-studies/australian-innovator-smileyscope-is-taking-the-fear-out-of-hospital-for-kids

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