Germ-fighting robot aims to lower infection rates at hospital

Germ-fighting robot aims to lower infection rates at hospital
Claude goes to work inside a patient room. (Source: Rick Miller, WAVE 3 News)
Claude goes to work inside a patient room. (Source: Rick Miller, WAVE 3 News)
Roberta Eldridge (Source: Rick Miller, WAVE 3 News)
Roberta Eldridge (Source: Rick Miller, WAVE 3 News)
Melinda Hart (Source: Rick Miller, WAVE 3 News)
Melinda Hart (Source: Rick Miller, WAVE 3 News)
Dr. Eric Xia (Source: Rick Miller, WAVE 3 News)
Dr. Eric Xia (Source: Rick Miller, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Keeping up good hygiene is always a priority at any hospital, and it's not an easy task. In order to make cleaning a flash, a local hospital invested in a new robot that gets the job done.
 
You may have heard of robot vacuum cleaners, but those aren't going to cut it for hospitals. So Norton Audubon Hospital found something better.
 
Three robots, affectionately called Claude, Adele and Maddox, are hospital disinfecting robots. Many say the robots look like R2-D2. they are the size of an industrial vacuum cleaner, but it gets so much more done than just pick up dust particles.

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"The robot flashes an intense UV light," said Melinda Hunt, a representative from Xenex Disinfection Services, the company that makes robots like Claude.

The light Hunt refers to comes in bursts. It's so intense, you can't stare at it. The principle is like leaving your pillows in the sunlight to disinfect them, but on a much larger and stronger scale. The light Claude sends out is strong enough to kill bacteria instantly.

"Germs and bacteria have never seen before, they have no resistance to it," Hunt said. "They can't mutate, they can't reproduce and harm the next patient in that room."
 
The process is quick according to Roberta Eldridge, who has been with the hospital for 36 years as an environmental services supervisor, it's an exciting upgrade to the way they clean.

"When we go in a patient room, we use it three times," Eldridge said. "We use it twice in the patient room and once in a bathroom which takes a total of 12 minutes."
 
Those 12 short minutes are right now dedicated to fighting all types of superbugs but specifically, C-Diff and MRSA. Norton Audubon made an investment in the three robots hoping to cut down those two types of infections.
 
"We have been fighting this for years," said Dr. Eric Xia, "and so far - until getting this machine and with all the teamwork - we really see improvements in the past couple months."

Doctors and other healthcare professionals like Xia are working to study the results in the hopes of having this kind of equipment at all other Norton Healthcare facilities.

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