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Meet the new superbug killing robot at Naples Community Hospital

Feb 4, 2020, Naples, FL | Veronica Marshall & Michael Mora

Wendy, the Xenex UV robot, is the next step in the fight to keep you healthy in the hospital as she goes around Naples Community Hospital Healthcare System with a UV light that kills things like MRSA and the Coronavirus.

All over the country, you can find horror stories about drug-resistant superbugs. C-Diff is just one example, while MRSA is another.

The son of Roxana Sudderth died from MRSA infection.

“He had blood clots all over his legs and in his lungs,” Sudderth said. “There was nothing they could do because the antibiotics weren’t taking the MRSA away.”

When patients battling those illnesses come into the hospital for treatment, you want to make sure no one else is going to get infected.

On any given day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about one in 31 hospital patients becomes sick of antibiotic-resistant infections from their hospital stay. Now, NCH has a plan to bring that number to zero.

“We’re really excited to share the news that we were able to deploy the Xenex UV robots,” said Georgine Kruedelbach, the director of infection prevention & performance improvement at NCH Healthcare System. “They disinfect the environment, so we’re very thrilled to have them here.”

Through the use of UV light, the Xenex robots cleanse hospital rooms. It destroys harmful microorganisms and germs in ways NCH has not been able to before.

“We feel like our process is good,” Kruedelbach said, “but there’s always that chance of human error. And this gets rid of that human error chance.”

NCH will test out four robots over the next eight months. After that, the hospital will decide if it wants to expand the program. Right now, Lee Health has two of the robots at each of its hospitals. Other hospitals said the robots reduce their C-Diff, MRSA and surgical site infection rates by 50% to 100%. Even superbugs do not stand a chance.

“MRSA won’t become resistant to this machine,” said Vato Bochorishvili, an infectious disease doctor at NCH. “So basically, we can continue using it in the future without any fear of pathogens becoming resistant.”