Texas A&M Veterinary Hospital Acquires Disinfecting Robot

“Trudy” uses UVC to kill even the most resistant infection-causing bacteria.

October 14, 2023

According to Texas A&M Today, robot technology, combined with ultraviolet C (UVC), is now being used for disinfection at Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) in College Station, Texas.

The robot, called Tru-D—or more anthropomorphically, Trudy—relies on 28 lightbulbs and eight UVC centers to disinfect walls, floors, and tables, with the ability to kill the most resistant infection-causing bacteria. According to the article, the machine can control the spread of germs quicker and more efficiently than manual human labor.

“During a manual cleaning of an operating room, we take everything out,” Katy Wendler, VMTH assistant hospital administrator, told Texas A&M Today. “We clean the entire base of the operating room, including the walls and ceiling, and then we clean each piece of equipment as we put it back into the room—wheels and all.” The task takes three operating room technicians about 30 minutes to complete.

In comparison, the article notes that Trudy can clean smaller rooms in about 15–20 minutes. Larger rooms can take 30–40 minutes, but during that time, technicians can attend to other responsibilities.

“With Trudy around, our people can do other things, like spend more time with patients,” Wendler continued. “We still use manual cleaning, but now we can also use Trudy to do random cleanings of rooms, even when they haven’t been used recently.”

Having seen the effectiveness of robotic UVC disinfection in hospitals serving humans, Pam Douglas, VMTH infection control coordinator, worked toward its implementation at the animal hospital. According to the article, such technology is much rarer at veterinary healthcare facilities than those for humans.

“Because some of the patients we see are very ill, with infections that can spread to other animals, and even to humans, sanitation is an important part of hospital protocols,” Douglas told Texas A&M Today.

Since its introduction at the beginning of the year, Trudy has been used 800 times to disinfect various areas within VMTH, including operating rooms, exam rooms, isolation rooms, and the intensive care unit.

“Trudy is an enhancement to our patients, staff, faculty, and even the community,” Douglas said. “It ensures that we protect everyone as much as possible from the environmental spread of germs.”

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