DENVER (CBS4) – Rose Medical Center is taking aim at hospital acquired infections.

The weapon of choice is NEAL. It’s a brand new portable room disinfecting robot from a company called Xenex, and it’s the first of its kind in Denver.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

It pulses germicidal ultraviolet light thousands of times more powerful than sunlight to disinfect light switches, bed rails, tray tables and remote controls. Hospital officials call those “high touch surfaces” and they are usually home to lots of potentially harmful germs.

The makers of NEAL claim that in 5 to 10 minutes it can kill a room full of harmful organisms better than standard chemical cleaners.

Officials with Rose say they have already seen improvement in infection rates.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every 20 patients will contract an infection in the hospital. That’s about 2 million people each year. Nearly 100,000 of those patients will die.

“It gets to the places that the housekeepers can’t,” said Xenex Disinfection Services spokesman Dr. Mark Stibich said. “One facility saw a drop of 53 percent in MRSA and another was about 57 percent for C. diff.”

C. diff is an aggressive intestinal infection.

In a month of using NEAL last winter, Rose Medical Center had no cases of C. diff.

The center is pleased with the results they are getting with NEAL, even though it comes with a steep price tag of $125,000.

“If you can save a life it’s worth it,” Rose spokeswoman Michelle Bauer said.

Rose Medical Center (credit: CBS)

Rose Medical Center (credit: CBS)

The center has plans to rename NEAL. One popular suggestion so far is Rosie, which has an echo of the hospital name in it and also harks back to the cleaner robot in the TV show “The Jetsons.”

Another suggestion is KEN … after Rose’s CEO Kenneth Feiler and short for “Kill Everything Nasty.”


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