Robot Allows Doctors To Treat Stroke Patients From Miles Away


UPDATED: Wednesday May 15, 2013 6:22 PM

When you walk inside the emergency room at Memorial Hospital of Union County, doctors and nurses are not the only ones making rounds.
 
These days, trained medical professionals are sharing their workspace with the newest staff member, "Sheldon" the robot.
 
At 6 feet tall and 400 pounds, Sheldon has helped doctors diagnose stroke patients faster.

The RP-Vita Robot is the first FDA-cleared telemedicine robot of this kind. The technology connects specialists to patients from anywhere in the world.

"Time is critical, time is everything when it comes to strokes," said Dr. Jenny Guest of Memorial Hospital of Union County.
 
The collaboration between the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Memorial Hospital has made it possible for some stroke patients to receive treatment closer to home.  

Columbus stroke specialists guide Sheldon to Marysville hospital rooms by using iPads and GPS technologies.

"It's interesting how easily it navigates our hallways and walks right into a room, or rolls right into a room, without any difficulty at all," added Guest.

Video cameras and screens allow specialists to see patients and ask questions remotely.

The immediate information can be used by medical teams to start lifesaving treatments.

"Studies have shown the best treatment for stroke at this time is giving the clot busting treatment as fast as possible," said Specialist Dr. Michel Torbey.

Sheldon is one of seven similar medical robots in the world, with two located in Ohio.

His name was inspired by the CBS Show, “The Big Bang Theory.”

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