From Medication to Innovation | Ryan Sathianathen | TEDxMoreauCatholicHS



so I know this kid he's very active in his community he loves sports and he's a captain on his cross-country team a referee of CYO basketball and a formidable opponent and soccer and tennis he participates in many clubs in his school being the co-president of a culture club and a member of the cyber defense team just to name two furthermore he's an avid academic who loves working on schoolwork with his friends especially when his favorite subject of science is involved when he's not doing one of these school activities you can usually find him reading about the adventures of his favorite superhero in this week's issue of the flash so a strong inclination for computers not just a liking of schoolwork but sometimes actually choosing to do additional academic work instead of other activities that people might find more fun and a passion for superheroes and comic books this kid's kind of a giant nerd but more importantly this kid's a cancer survivor as a few years ago he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia and has spent large periods of time in the hospital from several visits to the emergency room at two o'clock in the morning to multiple short stays that lasted for a few days to a three-month hospitalization for a bone marrow transplant that was accompanied by missing almost an entire year of school after everything that he's been through his cancer is fortunately now in remission with all that's happened some of this child's clearest memories of his experience with cancer has been from his time in the hospital see considering the reason for his hospitalization he was relatively satisfied with the circumstances as there were many video games for him to play and endless movies for him to watch especially his favorite superhero films but eventually being isolated in this hospital room began to take its toll on this child over time he grew tired of the movies and video games but just seeing them caused him to become annoyed every day sitting alone in his hospital bed he was thinking while he was being a burden on his family hardly ever able to leave his room others were in the outside world living out their daily lives well everyone else was moving forward and working towards their future his life was being put on hold over time these feelings of envy of anguish frustration all built up within him causing his mental health to substantially depreciate as a result he began to lose his motivation to fight often failing to me his daily fluid requirements or dietary needs which then caused his physical health to depreciate eventually he was able to start to deal with these motions and overcome them so that he could return to a more stable health and then returned to his normal life so you're probably be wondering how I know this kid's story so well and I know this kid's story so well and understand it on such a deep level because that kid is me my struggles with mental health during my time in the hospital has inspired me to find a solution for this problem while doctors are working their hardest to cure the serious illness of a patient making sure that the body is free of any illness or disease sometimes the mind can be overlooked but this drop in mental health is something that cannot be disregarded as a broken mentality can have severe effects on a child's health having personally experienced a situation myself the boredom that led to an apathetic attitude perceptions of helplessness and the utter fragmentation of spirit I know how a fractured mental health can affect someone's character and their motivation to fight this inspired me to find a solution for the problem to find a way to heal the mind and the soul so that future pediatric patients would have a better experience in the hospital for some time to seem like a problem that I would never be able to solve how could I eliminate these feelings of isolation of despair of the immense anguish but then I met the individual who put me on the correct path my mentor dr. Gokul Krishnan see dr. Krishnan had been working to tackle this issue and had devised the solution of using innovation and making to improve patient mental health this immediately captured my attention as the ideas of using innovation and making two concepts completely unrelated to medicine really opened my mind and I came upon the important realization that healing is not limited to the field of medicine as a result I was drawn to join Gokul in his work and together we began to create an innovation makerspace at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital the hospital that I was treated for cancer see the creation of this makerspace was the perfect solution for this decline in mental health and patients as this mental as this decline is the result of the isolation and the lack of their stimulation of the mind while being hospitalized being limited to low mental processing activities such as video games watching TVs TV and other few options and a few other options the creation of the innovation space would provide patients with the opportunity to harness their creativity and inventiveness to reinvigorate their Fiat their positive emotions and attitudes for these pediatric patients the innovation space could become a place where they not limited by the walls that surround them where their minds can roam free and the only limit is their imagination a place where the small room in the hospital doesn't restrict what they can do it's a place where they can mend their broken spirit after collaborating with a few companies and starting to work out the designs of the space we began to add various features starting with a table made out of giant Legos to minor arts and craft supplies to a professional 3d printer to snap on circuits called little bits that allow patients to easily create electronic contraptions as we continually added news features to the space and improved on the ones that were already there we began to see the number of patients who come to the space increase as they built their unique inventions following the implementation of the innovation makerspace in the hospital we began to see signs at patients health improving sometimes in the smallest of ways but nonetheless still improvement with all the innovation that was going on patients were seeing the mental stimulation of their minds they were breaking this endless cycle of television as they were innovating creating their new inventions patients were incredibly excited to show off people what they had created and they began to invite more doctors and nurses who were on duty to come into their rooms and see what they had created so while some of the younger children were more focused on playing with their newly printed 3d buddies some of the older kids really challenged themselves to create complex contraptions using combinations of the arts and crafts supplies 3d printers and little bit circuits these piece inventions served a variety of functions such as this electronically powered hand that waves as people as they walk by some other patients decided to create inventions that fit a few of their needs in the hospital for example being a patient in the hospital you're asked a question how are you doing numerous time in just one day well this one patient was getting annoyed that he had to keep on answering this question over and over again so we used the makerspace to create this dial mood meter and when she could point the arrow to how he was currently feeling so that anyone could tell how he's feeling without having to ask him for example if he was feeling good on one day he could use the motor to point the arrow to a 5 – say he was feeling good or maybe he woke up and he was sad he could point the arrow to a one another patient didn't like it when people in a room are talking too loudly so she created this voice meter this voice meter where the lips on the meter would light up if people started talking too loudly letting them know that they needed to quiet down a little bit I actually created my own invention in the space as after I underwent transplant I had severe mouth sores that left me unable to talk for three weeks so instead of having to communicate with my doctors my pain level by writing down how I was feeling my brother Johanna and I used the innovation makerspace to create this pain reader in which I could slide the toggle to match my current pain level this next invention was created by a patient who wanted to make his hospital room seem a little bit more like home so we created this identity doorbell and which makes distinct sounds depending on the button pressed so he can know the identity of that person at his door whether they were a doctor a nurse or a visitor then he could use his phone to relay a signal to the doorbell let them know if they could come in or maybe if he just needed a few more minutes but more than these clever inventions or fun toys some of the patients use the innovation makerspace to express their deepest emotions one of the most meaningful stories that I've seen in the space is of this young boy who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left tibia which is a severe form of bone cancer that can be fatal if allowed to spread through throughout the entire body on the day he received the news of his illness he was devastated and with his family they went outside to pray for some answers as they were praying a hummingbird flew by and hovered over them for a few minutes which they interpreted as a sign of hope and that everything else would get better ever since that day this patient and his family have seen a hummingbird even in days when they were in the hospital as a result this patient used the makerspace to 3d print a model of a hummingbird that he has hung on his IV pole and intends to take home with him when he gets better for most of us this is just a piece of plastic that took a few hours to print but to this patient and his family it's a powerful reminder that he will get better and as a source of motivation for him to keep fighting on as you can see the innovation makerspace better sees patient's health on a variety of ways from breaking their endless cycle of television to encouraging them to use their minds and express their creativity to reinvigorating their feelings of happiness and accomplishment to simply shifting their thoughts away from the illness that is affecting them at the moment and allowing them to be themselves healing does not happen just their intense treatment and medication while you may not be doctors you have the power to heal and can be a major part of the healing process well there's a physical illness that doctors are working their hardest to cure every day at the same time there was a mind and soul that needs to be healed I chose to bring about healing through innovation but there are so many other things that work and it's time for each of you to find the power of healing within yourself and share it with others whether it be by sharing your love of music with a pediatric patient in the hospital or by simply visiting a young friend and letting them know that they're not alone the ways in which you can spark healing and others is endless if every one of us contribute just a little bit of our time to helping these young children we can engineer a reality we're into where pediatric patients are intellectually stimulated and there for generally healthier where instead of focusing on the illness as affecting them at the moment instead of being weighed down by that illness they're looking forward to their future and what lies ahead in their lives together we can build a world were these pediatric patients no longer see themselves as a burden on our society but rather as the next generation of young scientists and inventors who will rise up make a positive impact and innovate towards a brighter future thank you

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