Germ zapping robot helps fight hospital-acquired infections

New tech gives off pulses of UV light that kills bacteria

SAN ANTONIO – A germ zapping robot is helping to combat hospital-acquired infections in San Antonio.

Baptist Orthopedic Hospital is using a robot that gives off pulses of UV light that kills bacteria that lingers on surfaces.

“It’s a very easy and simple way to totally clean an operating room. The energy that is omitted from the machine actually works to kill bacteria,” Marvin Brown, Orthopedic Surgeon said.

“It can be so devastating to actually get a surgical site infection,” Jeff Buysse, surgery director said.

The hospital began using the robot in November 2016 and they measure the success by the infection rate.

“Prior to this, we actually had less than one half percent infection rate in the hospital here, in the surgery department and since, we actually implemented this, we haven’t had an infection yet,” Buysse said.

“I’m all about doing everything I can to prevent infections in my patients. So we give patients preoperative antibiotics for 24 hours after a total joint prosthesis is put in. But this is even more than that. Its cleaning the environment before we get in there,” Brown said.

Buysse said the tech hits close to home.

“When my dad was 89 years old, he actually went for a surgical procedure at a hospital out of state and he actually got a surgical site infection,” Buysse said. “It was traumatic for our family.”