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Specialized robots used to disinfect NH TwentyninePalms

Hospital personnel standing with a cleaning robot Teresa Turbyfill, hospital infection preventionist (left), poses with NHTP hospital corpsmen and a company representative, behind one of their new broad spectrum UV light robotic units. (Photo by David Marks, NHTP PAO.)

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Robots shooting high-energy pulses to kill germs is not the future. It is now.

Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in southern California recently purchased two robotic units that pulse high energy, broad spectrum UV light, to disinfect surface areas.

Registered nurse Teresa Turbyfill, infection preventionist in the hospital's Quality Management Department, raised the idea of purchasing the robots as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to grow in the early spring.

"Ultraviolet radiation emitting robots have been around for 20 years," Turbyfill said. "With the need for greater infection control, we are now using them in our operating rooms, in our post-anesthesia care unit and on the maternity ward. They've been a great success."

The robotic units are designed to complement manual cleaning and have been validated to deactivate pathogens such as VRE, MRSA, C. diff and SARS CoV-2.

Curtiss Hargrove, the hospital's Environmental Services supervisor, noted that his staff is thrilled with the addition of the robotic disinfection units. "The robots have been a great addition to the command, making it a much safer place," Hargrove stated. "My staff enters restricted areas for cleaning and disinfecting and these robots make them feel safer. Not only has my workers' morale improved, but also the quality of their work."

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