Awaiting a donor heart at Cedars-Sinai: Hospitals try giving patients a dose of VR (Bloomberg)

Awaiting a donor heart at Cedars-Sinai: Hospitals try giving patients a dose of VR (Bloomberg)

At Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Ronald Yarbrough is waiting in a room that overlooks the hospital’s landing pad, hoping to see helicopter bring him a donor heart. He needs a transplant after his artificial one failed and is being kept alive by a machine. He has been trying a Samsung Gear VR headset and specially created software from a startup called AppliedVR. It helped take his mind off the fact that he’s confined to a small hospital room that can feel like a jail cell. When his muscles relaxed, his pain receded, he said.

“I was on a lot of pain medication and I’ve been able to whittle that down because I’m not sitting around thinking about it,” said the 54-year-old former truck driver. He intends to buy a VR headset when he’s discharged. “I was very surprised by it. I didn’t have the expectation of it working. When I got into it, I was amazed.”

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