A stroke victim received potentially life-saving treatment at Mullingar hospital last week after assistance was provided from another location via a robotic device or ‘RoboDoc’.
The remote presence (or RP7 ) robot doctor allows patients, who present at a hospital having suffered a suspected stroke, to be seen by a specialist as a matter of urgency.
The 81-year-old patient, who was rushed to Mullingar hospital by ambulance on Sunday afternoon after she suffered a stroke during Mass, became the first person in Ireland to be treated with clot-busting drugs under the video guidance of a specialist located in Dublin’s Tallaght Hospital.
On arrival she was assessed by stroke physician Professor Des O’Neill at Tallaght hospital by means of the robotic device, which allowed the doctor to talk to her, examine brain scans, and advise the medical team in Mullingar on how to treat her. Within an hour, the patient had been given clot-busting medication and her condition had improved.
‘RoboDoc’ is part of a six-month pilot scheme being run between Mullingar, Tallaght and Naas General hospitals. As the majority of hospitals do not have a consultant available around the clock, and the treatment of stroke patients is time-sensitive, it is thought that RoboDoc could soon be saving the lives of hundreds of stroke victims in the Midlands and across the country.
Specialists are rostered on so that an expert is always available at one of the sites, and a two-way audio and video link is used to guide medical staff through treatment.