Germ-Killing Robot Comes To Stamford Hospital

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Dr. Mark Stibih, founder and chief scientific officer for Xenex Healthcare Services, shows how the room-disinfection device will be used in Stamford Hospital. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford Hospital showed off its new "killer robot" - that attacks germs and viruses - on Tuesday.

The Xenex Healthcare Services’ portable room-disinfection device, which was purchased by the hospital last month, uses pulsed xenon gas to deliver ultraviolet light to disinfect room surfaces. It will be used after a room is cleaned, as an extra step in preparing rooms after a patient leaves.

While the machine’s use is considered to be an extra precaution, Dr. Michael Parry, director of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the hospital, said he feels it is important to have a device like Xenex’s to keep rooms as clean and safe as possible.

“Until we get to zero percent, we can’t be positive,” he said of eliminating harmful diseases.

This is the second generation of the device, and it has been designed to be more intense and have better usability, said Dr. Mark Stibich, chief scientific officer and founder of Xenex.

It takes about five minutes to disinfect a four-foot radius, and although people shouldn’t be in the room while it is working, the area is safe immediately afterward, Stibich said.

“It is humanly impossible to clean every inch of every room,” Stibich said.

Stamford plans to use the device mostly in the main hospital, with a priority on high-risk areas such as isolation rooms, Parry said. He did not rule out the possibility of the hospital buying another unit, but wants to “see how it goes,” with the first one. “You have to have a system that is quick and works,” he said. 

Other hospitals have found the robot reduces C.diff infections by 67 percent, MRSA infections by 45 percent, and is said to be seven times more effective than traditional cleaning, a Xenex news release said.

Stibich added that the device, which costs $80,000, reportedly saved one North Carolina hospital $2.3 million in infection costs.

This model of the robot has been out since February of this year, and is used in about 100 hospitals across the country, he said. Stamford Hospital is the first in Connecticut to have it.

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