NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - In the movies, you may expect an Ebola fighting robot to come kill the virus. But some hospitals in North Texas already have one. With UV light 25,000 times brighter than the sun, it is future of Ebola fighting. A housekeeper will wheel the robot into the room, the light on the robot goes up and it pulses for about 5 minutes.
Mark Stibich with Xenex developed the robot, which is made by the company in San Antonio. "It's very difficult to clean every square inch of a room.. the robot does that with light," he says.
More than 250 hospitals across the country are already using the robot including the Texas Health Resource hospitals and UT Southwestern Medical Center. It's also being used at University Hospital in San Antonio, where we got to see it at work. Carol Wisdom is an operating room nurse who now finds herself getting treated at the hospital. She says it makes her happy to see the robot in use.
"Cleanliness is a really big thing in the hospital... It makes me feel very excited to know that they are keeping up with the newest and the best of the technology out there," says Wisdom.
Patients like the robot. So do hospitals. Doctor Jason Bowling is an infectious disease specialist who works at University Hospital in San Antonio. He says one of the best things about the Xenex robot is that it works on lots of stuff that lurks in hospitals. "One of the beauties of this device," he says, "is it deactivated many pathogens, not just one."
And that may be the robot's legacy. Although all the focus is on Ebola now, the bigger threat may be from the virus or bacteria you've never heard of. Says Stibich,"Everyday 275 die from infections at hospitals so we wanted to take that technology and do something about it."
But the machine doesn't come cheaply. Each robot costs more than $100,000.
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