Saving the best for last explains just how complicated it is to make major changes for the kids. As you know, Mission’s major focus has been on installing systems that interface with an MRI machine, enabling a child to watch a movie during the MRI. This system is a game changer for a child who is put in a tunnel, alone, not feeling well and frightened. At a cost of about $50,000 per machine, Two systems have been placed at Walter Reed, one at Tripler, and one, we hope, is on its way to another military facility. However, that is just the beginning.
Last spring, I met with Senator Jack Reed, from Rhode Island, Chairman of the Senate Arm Services Committee, to ask for help in getting this system into all military hospitals in the country. Senator Reed and his staff were incredible. Through his efforts, an Item of Special Interest was added to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, S. 2226. While this is not a law, it has great influence on the Department and will be taken very seriously. While this is not a law, it has great influence on the Department. The Committee fully expects the Defense Health Agency to ensure that military treatment facilities have the needed capabilities when they provide MRIs to pediatric patients and other patients with anxiety issues. I will be meeting with the office of the Deputy Secretary of Health Affairs for the Military after the new year to get further support for this project. I am so encouraged!
What other projects are we working on in the meantime? Good question and the reason I hope you will support Mission with a donation. We are trying to complete two projects for the children in the unit. The first is to acquire a “Bubble Rover” from Southpaw Enterprises. This is a multi-sensory therapeutic tool that can be used to refocus attention and create a calming environment. Staff could use this regularly at both the bedside and in their treatment rooms to distract patients during procedures. This sensory unit will be especially helpful for patients on the autism spectrum or with sensory issues who benefit from an enhanced level of stimulation. As it is one wheels, it is easy to transport to any pediatric patient throughout the hospital. The Bubble Rover wiil help counteless patients and families treated at Walter Reed.
We are also trying to purchase a second gaming system on wheels. It would be available in the child's patient room and give kids access to games, allowing them to explore some adventure and other social experiences. The system can also be used with treatment. Internet connection in not required. Here’s a link to their site:
So you see, there is no limit to the things we can do to assure that the children of our military have all the advantages that children in public and private hospitals have. There are so many ways we can make a difficult experience easier. I hope you will help Mission, with a donation to The Walter Reed Society with Mission:M4 on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to the Walter Reed Society, Inc, c/o John Wetterau, 4819 Hutchins Place, NW, Washington, DC 20007. I promise you will be helping to make a huge difference. You can also donate directly via a the DONATE tab on this website. Please let me know your thoughts and of course, if you have any questions, give me a call.