Men’s shed innovation on mock MRI

What a cracking idea.

Every year, hundreds of children in Victoria need MRI – magnetic resonance imaging – of different parts of their body.  Unlike CT scans, they don’t have the same inherent risks of radiation, given that they are essentially a huge magnet that shifts protons in each cell, from which images can be created.  If you want more info, click here. If you want to totally geek it up and get buried in the science, then click right here.

The problem is that these machines are bloody noisy, and to get good images, you have to lie still for up to an hour.  Trying to get a child under the age of seven to do so is an incredible challenge – to the point that most of these children are given general anaesthetics for this exact purpose.  If we can convince them to lie still without this, it is better for the kid, better for the parents, and a far better use of health resources and costs.  It’s win-win-win scenario.  So much so, that Monash Medical Centre and Royal Children’s Hospital have mock MRI machines imitating the noise and confines of the machine for this exact reason – to try to get children used to the idea, ahead of the procedure.

But again, these are resources at the two tertiary paediatric units in the state, which does little to alleviate the bottle neck for MRIs at these centres.

So what does it take to come up with another idea?

Well, it seems it only requires a play therapist and a couple of blokes at the Men’s shed in Frankston.

Check it out:


I’m not sure what their costs were to whack some three-ply together, slap on some white paint, and make a calico doll.  And I know it’s not a mock MRI machine.  But it’s simple, and it’s cute, and with a bit of love and care, and some kind words from the play therapist, it might just work.

Just think – if even one child stays still for the procedure, and doesn’t require escalation to a tertiary centre for a day bed, a general anaesthetic, an anaesthetist and an anaesthetic nurse, my guesstimate is that this $20 in wood, paint and calico probably saved about $2000.

That’ a 10,000% saving.

Each and every time.

Might just get one for my own hospital.


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