Watch CBS News

Health Exclusive: New Robot Arrives in Philadelphia, Helps Paralyzed Patients Walk Again

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--First-of-its-kind kind technology arrives in Philadelphia to help paralyzed patients walk again.  3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has the exclusive details.

This is for people who struggle to move and walk.  Now the robotic technology is helping them get their lives back.

This is an amazing accomplishment for Dolores McQuilkin.  She had a stroke in September, and couldn't move the left side of her body.

"You can't do anything on your own.  You need help with everything," said Dolores.

But she's making progress now and is getting back on her feet with the help of a new robotic system called the Vector at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.

Strapped in and attached to a robotic rail, it senses the patient's movement and follows along.  Physical therapists, like Alexander Kobb, can program the robot to assist patients, depending on their needs.

"What it does is it allows us to support a certain number of pounds or a certain percentage of a patient's body weight.  So in essence, it takes some of the responsibility away from their weak limb or their painful limbs, so they can walk with more normal mechanics," said Kobb.

The technology allows patients to strengthen their muscles and retrain their mind and body to walk.

"This allows us to get patients, more patients up.  Up sooner and allows the patients to progress quicker, so it's great for us," said Kobb.

And it offers peace of mind.  The robot can catch patients if they fall.

"The patient feels safer.  They feel more secure.  They can be a little more aggressive in their training and what they're doing," said Kobb.

Dolores and her family are thrilled about this new opportunity.

"Today she's walking, so it's amazing, amazing," said Chuck McQuilkin, Dolores' husband.

"It was great to see," said Kevin McQuilkin, Dolores' son.

"It's very hard, very intense.  But it's helping me walk again," said Dolores.

Magee has the longest track for its robot in the world.

Therapists say typically this type of training is done on a treadmill, but allowing patients to be able to walk down a hall, practice balancing and turning makes a huge difference.

Orthopedic, neurologic and amputee patients can benefit from the technology.

For more information, visit:

Magee Rehabilitation Vector Information-

Bioness Vector Gait & Safety System Information-

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.