Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vancouver hospital debuts Germinator

Bug-killing robot first in Canada

  • Print

VANCOUVER -- When Trudi the robot is plugged in and armed, it sounds more like a space shuttle launch system than a germ-killing machine.

"Disinfecting will commence in 15 seconds; please leave the room," Trudi -- as staff at Vancouver General Hospital have named it -- calls out in a digital monotone from inside a treatment room.

"Disinfecting process started," it continues, as its thin, vertical bulbs blast out powerful ultraviolet rays, killing germs and viruses that might be lurking nearby.

The hospital is the first facility in Canada to use Trudi -- whose formal name is Tru-D SmartUVC -- as health officials across the country look for ways to protect vulnerable patients from catching potentially deadly bugs such as norovirus and C. difficile.

Health officials in British Columbia have started a pilot project that will see Tru-D and a similar device each tested for five months to determine whether the technology should be used permanently in health-care facilities in the province.

"We've been very impressed with the almost complete eradication of organisms, even when we take it to high concentrations," Dr. Elizabeth Bryce, the medical director for infection control at Vancouver Coastal Health, said after a demonstration of the device on Friday.

"We hope it will decrease the rates of hospital-acquired organisms like superbugs."

The Tru-D device is 1.65 metres tall with long bulbs running vertically up a round, clear shaft -- think R2-D2 from Star Wars instead of Rosie from The Jetsons. It can't move on its own and must be manually wheeled from room to room.

A large sensor on the top of the device measures reflections from the UV light to determine the size of the room and how much exposure will be required to disinfect it. The process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

It must be used in an empty room that has already been cleaned by hospital staff, said Bryce, providing an extra layer of disinfection rather than replacing existing cleaning.

The five-month pilot project started in January. When that trial is finished, another UV disinfection device, PulseRx, will also be tested.

The results will determine whether the provincial government commits to permanently using either of the devices, which can cost up to $100,000 apiece.

Bryce said the hospital has actually been using Tru-D for the past three months. It asked the company for its test model early as it dealt with the recent norovirus outbreak late last year.

"We did use it in the norovirus season as an add-on to the cleaning, and we're very pleased with that, as well," she said.

Vancouver General Hospital was among many hospitals across Canada to be hit with a norovirus outbreak in recent months, with infection rates several times higher than average in some places.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 2, 2013 A13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Take It Easy

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Manitoba support the transport of nuclear waste through the province?

View Results

Ads by Google