Device calms kids’ nerves

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Doctors at Jamaica Hospital say it is hard to treat young patients because it can be scary for them to undergo certain care — especially intravenous procedures.

“Our children are nervous. They don’t know what is going on and they want to go home,” said hospital spokesman Michael Hinck.

But a new device that was donated to the hospital by an Ozone Park nonprofit Friday will make that experience more enjoyable and help both doctors and patients. The Kiwanis Club of Ozone Park raised more than $4,000 to buy a Vecta Distraction System for Jamaica Hospital’s pediatrics department and Child Life rehabilitation program.

The device provides young patients with interactive visuals, music and aroma therapy that will take their minds off the medical work being done.

Kiwanis member Nancy Di Croce said she spearheaded the drive to get the 6-foot device because she wanted to help out the hospital and this was on the top of its wish list.

“I offered to have a Christmas party and the staff said they didn’t want a party, they wanted this,” she said.

The machine has a tube that is surrounded by mirrors and emits bubbles that can be controlled with a rubber ball. The water in the tube constantly changes color, but patients can also use another controller to keep the color they like.

“They can have an IV therapy and relax with the bubbles and look at the colors,” Hinck said.

Aside from the tube, a holographic projector displays lava lamp-like images on a nearby wall and the young patients can hold on to lighted fiber optic cables. The machine also provides soothing smells from an aroma machine and plays soft, comforting music through two speakers.

Although the hospital just started using the machine recently, administrators and medical professionals said it alleviated a lot of stress for the kids.

“It gives them a sense of calm,” Hinck said.

Di Croce, who also sits on the Jamaica Hospital Health Committee, agreed.

“To have their parent hold their hand is not enough,” she said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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