Methodist Healthcare System | Keeping Well | Winter 2019

Gaming Technology Helps Sick Kids Cope When Jason Ornelas, Jr., began his chemotherapy at Methodist Chil- dren’s Hospital, he was excited to find out that he also would be able to swim with whales deep in the ocean or take a field trip to see the Northern Lights. That’s because Methodist Children’s Hospital is one of only a hand- ful of hospitals in the nation and the only facility in Texas that em- ploys a patient technology specialist, whose role is to use gaming and virtual technology as a means of treatment and relationship-building. “Gaming technology allows us to help take the kids’ minds off of any procedures, tests, or check in’s and is one small way our staff works to brighten their days,” said Alexander Pereira, the hospital’s Patient Technology Specialist. Through a shared love of gaming, kids connect with Pereira and open up to him in a way they may not be able to with other healthcare professionals. Ornelas, 16, came to Methodist Children’s Hospital to receive treatment for bone cancer in his shoulder, and his prognosis is good. He receives chemotherapy daily for an entire week and then is off a couple of weeks before returning for treatment which will continue through January. Child Life Director Caitlin Pearce noticed that Ornelas was a gamer. She introduced him to Pereira, and the two really hit it off. ALMOST LIKE GROUP THERAPY “The gaming and virtual reality keep Jason busy and engaged,” said Karen Casten, his mom. “He doesn’t focus on sickness or the chemotherapy. When he went to the playroom for gaming, he connected with other patients who enjoy gaming, too. It was almost like group therapy for him.” As happened with Ornelas, child life specialists refer patients to Pereira. Normally he works with kids one-on-one to determine the right technology distraction for them. Pereira speaks the same language as the patients—games and technology. He has a master’s degree in educational technology with focus on games and education from Boise State. He said his position requires an unusual skill set: Be good with kids, be good with technology. Pereira has a special room for virtual technology (VR) and multiple headsets. He says he has had kids experience VR for more than two hours. “If I’d let them, the kids would stay in there all day. It’s pretty amazing,” he said. Pereira also is able to live-stream special hospital events directly into the rooms of patients who would ordinarily miss out due to being immunocompromised and unable to leave their rooms. Kids who do not have their own devices are provided with iPads or laptops to pass the time. Pereira also has VR technology to help kids understand and prepare for medical procedures. Gaming technology at the hospital and his connection with Pereira have had a special benefit for Ornelas. Since he can no longer move the top part of his left shoulder, Ornelas cannot participate in athletics. Pereira encouraged him to look into eSports at Boise State. Through their eSports program, the university hosts a competitive video game team as an officially sanctioned varsity activity for undergraduates and graduates. For more information on programs at Methodist Children’s Hospital, visit . Robotic SIPS Helps Patients LoseWeight, ImproveTheir Health Surgeons at Metropolitan Methodist Hospital are the first in South Texas to use robotic surgery in performing an innovative weight-loss or metabolic surgery procedure, and they are making a difference in patients’ lives. Stomach intestinal pylorus-sparing surgery (SIPS) combines the gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve procedures. About 75 to 80 percent of the stomach is removed, resulting in a small stomach pouch. The pyloric valve is preserved so that food passes through the pyloric valve instead of skip- ping it, as in gastric bypass surgery. Preserving the pyloric valve helps patients absorb more nutrients from the food and helps with satiety. Nilesh Patel, M.D. , who performs the SIPS procedure robotically, says that the robotic technol- ogy gives surgeons better vision and helps making the difficult connections that are part of SIPS much easier. For Tomas Treto, 30, weighing almost 420 pounds was affecting his health, his job and his lifestyle. He said he was constantly bloated, could walk only three or four steps without having to stop, and his feet were always swollen. He had high blood pressure and was borderline for diabetes. Dieting and exercise did not work for him. “I just got to the point where I could not deal with being unable to move around,” he said. “I did not want to have to depend on someone else for the rest of my life. I knew I had to do something.” Treto had his surgery in June 2018. By November he had lost 200 pounds, weighing in at 220. “I am surprised that I am still losing weight,” he said. “Clothes that once were too tight on me now are too large. I hope to get down to between 180 and 190 pounds.” He says his energy level is up, he sleeps well, and he can move around without struggling. “I have been busy at work,” he said. “People see me and compliment me on my weight loss. I feel good about myself.” “Tomas had a primary SIPS surgery, and he is rocking,” said Subhash Reddy, M.D. , who performed the procedure. “He loves his surgery and is sticking to all our recommendations during his follow-up despite his busy work schedule.” Kendra Hastings has lost more than 60 pounds since her robotic SIPS surgery in January 2018. “I did it for myself and for my three children, ages 4, 5, and 7,” she said. “I have changed my eating habits, too, focusing on eating fish, turkey and chicken and limiting sugar.” “Kendra is one of our first revision patients who had failed to lose adequate weight from sleeve gastrectomy de- spite following all the instructions,” explained Dr. Reddy, her surgeon. “Based on the clinical outcome studies, now we know that patients who started with very high BMIs of more than 45 have slightly greater chances of failure from the sleeve procedure. The SIPS procedure helps to reach the desired goal without altering the ex- isting sleeve stomach. Kendra is a very compli- ant and dedicated pa- tient, working towards her goal.” For more informa- tion on SIPS surgery at Metropolitan Method- ist Hospital, visit . *To view all of Methodist Healthcare Hospitals’ Leapfrog grades, and to access tips for staying safe in any hospital, visit The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. It is updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring. The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit patient safety watchdog organization, uses 28 measures to assign grades to an estimated 2,600 U.S. hospitals of which less than a third received an A rating. Hospital Safety Grade is a highly- regarded indicator of how safe hospitals actually are for patients. TH NK YOU Time after time, our nurses and hospital staffs keep us at the top. YOUR DEDICATION TO QUALITY IS WHY WE MADE THE GRADE 30223_MHS_Keeping_Well_Fall_2018_Leapfrog_ad_v1.indd 1 11/20/18 3:34 PM M e t h o d i s t H e a l t h c a r e Alexander Pereira (R), Gaming Technology Specialist at Methodist Children’s Hospital, intro- duces patient Jason Ornelas Jr. to some of the gaming and virtual reality tech- nology offered as part of his treatment. K E E P I N G W E L L W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 5