High-risk doctor uses robot to treat COVID-19 patients from the safety of his home

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MARYLAND (WDVM) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults are at a higher risk for COVID-19 — and older doctors treating these patients are no exception. One doctor from the University of Maryland found a way to stay connected with his patients, safely.

Dr. Reynolds is a critical care physician at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His age puts him in the at-risk category. When the pandemic began, he knew he had to protect his own health, but his patients were still his main priority.

The doctor decided to turn to robotic technology. From his home 22 miles away, Reynolds is able to treat patients with severe COVID-19 infections who are hospitalized at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at UMMC in Baltimore.

He can fully manipulate the robot, who he calls “Fast Freddy” from his home. Reynolds has no problem driving it left, right, forward and backward around a patient’s room to monitor vital signs, access patient records, and do a visual exam of the patient.

He can also have a conversation “face to face” with the patient and his colleagues in the room.

“Some of the people think I’m on the inside of the robot, but it’s just a device that’s sort of semi humanoid about five and a half feet tall, and it’s got a square screen on the top, and has to have a face of a health care, like mine,” Reynolds said.

The doctor is thrilled he is able to still care for his patients, while practicing social distancing.

He says with advance technology, health professionals can stay safe and care for patients, but as always they are reminding the public to take precautions and social distance.

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