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Virtual reality transforms hospital stay for kids

STANFORD, Calif. – Most children who have to be in a hospital wish they were anywhere else. 

But there's one hospital they may actually enjoy. 

Patients there can catch basketballs, fish or zap hamburgers in space -- courtesy of virtual reality. 

Brayden Eidenshink, a heart transplant patient, has been in and out of hospitals much of his young life. 

It wasn't easy, but there's one bright spot to ease the pain and worry -- The Chariot Program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.

"It distracts him from what they're doing around him. He would put the goggles on and they'd numb him up and then the IV's done. It helped ease his worry of the pain," said Brenda Eidenshink, Brayden's mother.

Chariot stands for childhood, anxiety reduction through innovation and technology, a program that utilizes traditional technologies such as tablets, mobile and virtual reality headsets.
  
The program has videos to aid with anesthesia, screens that play entertainment during pre-op and virtual reality games. 

"(The patients) have to be involved. They have to move their body. They have to move their head to play the game.  So, they're so focused on that that they kind of forget what's actually happening," said Molly Pearson, child life specialist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.     
 
Keenan Espiritu who's been a patient at the hospital for more than two years also appreciates the escape.  

"It helps me forget like I'm in the hospital. It feels like I'm somewhere else," he said.

"It can completely transform their experience here,"Caruso said.

The technology developed by the Chariot Program is being used throughout Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford as well as at other hospitals nationwide.