COVID-19: robots at the bedside of patients in Italy

(Varese) “Robots are tireless assistants. They cannot be infected, they are never sick “: these recruits are dubbed by the head of the intensive care unit of Circolo hospital in Varese in Italy (north), overwhelmed by coronavirus patients.

France Media Agency

Controlled remotely, the six robots recently acquired by the hospital are working with patients, checking vital parameters or triggering procedures essential for maintaining lives of these hard-hit patients. Some of the robots are white, with screens and sensors on the head, others, simpler, look like a small black broom on wheels with a rectangular screen head. They all seem to have come out of a futuristic film.

By piloting these electronic jewels remotely, doctors and nurses at this Varese hospital protect themselves and save protective equipment. And according to the doctors, these little robots have another advantage: they make certain patients smile.

Very close to the Swiss border, Varese is one of the most spared areas of Lombardy, region which concentrates more than half of the deaths in Italy. However, his hospital received many patients from hard-hit areas, such as Bergamo, where health services were creaking everywhere.

In Lombardy, medical personnel have been “hard hit by the virus. The fact that these robots cannot be contaminated is something great, ”says Francesco Dentali.

According to the Higher Institute of Health, near 10% of 120 000 0 infected officially identified in the country belong to medical personnel.

The order of doctors established a list of 70 doctors who have died since the start of the pandemic, without being able to specify whether these deaths are or not attributable to the virus.

With nearly 15 000 0 dead (including 8300 in Lombardy), Italy is the most bereaved country of the world by COVID – 19, according to the official reports.

But the number of deaths is undoubtedly much higher as evidenced by the first data on excess mortality in the affected areas.