High hopes 'Quinton' the robot will reduce health workers' COVID-19 exposure

Pulmonology Professor Coenie Koegelenberg experimented with the idea of performing virtual ward rounds before the country’s lockdown was announced.

'Quinton' the robot is being used at the Tygerberg Hospital to reduce the risk of health workers being exposed to COVID-19. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Tygerberg Hospital has employed an infection-resistant team member to reduce the exposure that medical personnel have with COVID-19 patients.

The facility has a limited number of specialists working in its general medical ICU and needed to find ways of keeping staff safe, while still offering world-class medical care.

Staff at Stellenbosch University’s Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty brainstormed and the result was the birth of “Quinton”.

The Double Robotic ‘robot’ was dubbed Quinton as it will never need to be quarantined.

Pulmonology Professor Coenie Koegelenberg experimented with the idea of performing virtual ward rounds before the country’s lockdown was announced.

After teaming up with Neurosurgery Division Head Professor Ian Vlok, Quinton became part of the ICU team.

"Its application is there to protect our staff - from the nursing staff all the way to the doctor and it really makes a difference where apart from what you might think of this disease, it is very scary. You've got people on the front line and these guys need protection. It really is having an impact for all of the staff there."

Vlok heads the Sunskill clinical training facility at the campus that is used to upskill surgeons.

Physicians operate Quinton remotely using a phone or a laptop.

WATCH: COVID-19 Situation Desk - 15 April 2020 PM

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