Friday, August 24, 2012

NASA astronaut visit a blast for patients and staff


OUT OF THIS WORLD: Delia shows her Mickey Mouse rocket to Bowen during his visit to MGHfC. 

Four-year-old Kateri Golden, of Cape Cod, quivered with excitement as she watched NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen slip a hospital gown over his blue flight suit. When he finally entered her room on Ellison 17 and knelt beside her, Kateri launched into conversation. “Did you really go up in space? I have never been into space before. I’m going to need a lot of practice to become an astronaut.”

“You need to go to school to study to become an astronaut,” Bowen replied. “You’ll need to study science and space.”

“I have not learned about space yet,” Kateri said. “But I have been to school a bunch of times.”


Bowen talks with Liam Talbot, 14.


Bowen, a Massachusetts native who has been on three flights to the International Space Station, visited the MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s inpatient units – the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) 
and the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit – on Aug. 17 to promote “Destination: Station,” NASA’s International Space Station exhibit featured at the Museum of Science now through Labor Day. Bowen signed autographs and distributed miniature foam astronaut toys, earth science books and space station stickers.

Delia Binette, 5, of Maine, showed Bowen her stuffed animal puppy riding in a Mickey Mouse rocket-ship. “Look at my puppy in my rocket! Do you send dogs to space?”

To Delia’s delight, Bowen confirmed that dogs and other animals have traveled to space.

The excitement spread to staff members, who asked Bowen about the rigors of astronaut training. In the PICU, Bowen posed for pictures with Michael J. Whalen, MD, a pediatric critical care specialist, Avi Traum, MD, a pediatric nephrologist, and several pediatric residents. Bowen also presented the MGH with a picture of Boston taken from the International Space Station and challenged patients, parents and staff to find area landmarks and the hospital.

Read more articles from the 08/24/12 Hotline issue.

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