Middlesex Hospital using robots to fight infection - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Middlesex Hospital using robots to fight infection

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Middlesex Hospital is using a new piece of equipment to protect patients every day. (WFSB) Middlesex Hospital is using a new piece of equipment to protect patients every day. (WFSB)
MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) -

Middlesex Hospital has beefed up its infection prevention team recently with several robots.

Eyewitness News recently learned about what the robots do and how they are protecting patients every day.

The newest member of Middlesex Hospital's infection prevention team is a 5 foot 5 inch robot is called Tru-D.

Tru-D does exactly what Tru-D stands for-- total room ultraviolet disinfection.

“It emits UV light--specifically the UVC light,” Dr. Rahul Anand, who is an epidemiologist at Middlesex Hospital, said.

Anand said this type of UV light has been used for the past 10 years in microbiology labs, but recent studies have shown how effective it can be when it comes to disinfecting hospital rooms.

“What the machine does is, by producing UV light, it kills another 99.9% of the bacteria that have been left behind,” Anand said.

Middlesex Hospital's Director of Environmental and Linen Services Susan Smith-Franks said “The machine registers how much reflective light is sent back to it, and then determines how long that cycle time needs to be to kill all the germs."

Smith-Franks told Eyewitness News that Tru-D serves as that extra layer of protection in addition to the traditional cleaning methods.

“Standard cleaning practices are very effective,” Smith-Franks said. “We can clean everything out of this room and yet there are still nooks and crannies that we may miss.”

There are types of drug-resistant bacteria that are extremely difficult to get rid of such as: Clostridium Difficile or C-Diff.

“Clostridium Difficile is very hard to kill with traditional cleaning methods,” Smith-Franks said.

Smith-Franks said bleach does a good job at killing C-Diff spores, but the UVC light is just as effective and much safer.

“While we still use bleach in all of our instances, this actually goes that one step beyond with less damaging effect on the environment,” Smith-Franks said.

Middlesex Hospital has armed itself with three of the robotic disinfection units, which are controlled remotely with iPads from outside the room.

“We can't be inside the room when this machine is on,” Smith-Franks said.

That's because UVC rays are harmful to humans.

“But the UVC rays do not pass through glass,” Smith-Franks said.

When the disinfection is complete, Tru-D is wheeled into another patient room or operating room to work its magic.

“It's not a choice when you come in,” Anand said. “But when you do come in you want to have that reassurance that every step is being taken to give you that margin of safety.”

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