Source | www.theverge.com |
The robot arrived just a few days after Christine Kiernan, an orthopedic surgeon at Tullamore Hospital in Ireland, was diagnosed with COVID-19. She’d arranged for Violet, an autonomous ultraviolet cleaning machine, to start trials at Tullamore to help the hospital adapt to staff shortages caused by the pandemic. But on Violet’s first day of work, Kiernan was already laid up in bed.
“It was awful, I’m not going to lie,” Kiernan, who’s since fully recovered from the disease, tells The Verge. “Thankfully I wasn’t critically unwell, but you do just feel like crap for weeks. Your energy’s gone for. And I have two kiddies, babies really, and there’s no social distancing you can do from a one-year-old and a two-year-old.”
The unfortunate timing of her diagnosis aside, Kiernan’s experience with Violet was something of a revelation. Like many health care workers around the world, her job has become significantly more challenging with the arrival of COVID-19. The normal busyness of hospital life has been supplemented by new complications: staff shortages, demands for personal protective equipment, and rigorous cleaning regimes to keep the virus at bay.