French emergency room tests virtual reality path to pain relief

Published: June 9, 2018
SHARES
Email
A nurse treats a patient wearing the 3-D therapeutic virtual reality headset developed by the Healthy Mind startup, at the emergency services department of the Saint-Joseph Hospital in Paris, June 7, 2018.
PHOTO: REUTERS

A nurse treats a patient wearing the 3-D therapeutic virtual reality headset developed by the Healthy Mind startup, at the emergency services department of the Saint-Joseph Hospital in Paris, June 7, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS: The very thought of visiting a hospital emergency department is stressful enough for many people, even without the discomfort or pain of an examination or treatment.

Enter an immersive virtual-reality program created by three graduates being used in France to relax patients and even increase their tolerance of pain – without resorting to drugs.

Apple focuses on speed, parental controls in software upgrades

“What we offer is a contemplative world where the patient goes on a guided tour, in interactive mode, to play music, do a bit of painting or work out a riddle,” said Reda Khouadra, one of the 24-year-olds behind the project.

As patients are transported by chunky VR goggles into a three-dimensional world of Japanese Zen gardens or snowy hillsides, they become more tolerant of minor but painful procedures such as having a cut stitched, a burn treated, a urinary catheter inserted or a dislocated shoulder pushed back into place.

“The virtual reality project … enables us to offer patients a technique to distract their attention and curb their pain and anxiety when being treated in the emergency room,” said Olivier Ganansia, head of the emergency department at the Saint-Joseph Hospital in Paris.

Qualcomm to depose Apple services chief Eddy Cue

“I think in 10 years, virtual reality won’t even be a question anymore and will be used in hospitals routinely.”

The Healthy Mind startup is not a world first but has landed a $20,000 prize from a university in Adelaide, Australia – which will now pay for the three founders to present their project at Microsoft’s headquarters in the US city of Seattle.

Facebook Conversations

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in Technology