Quintin the robot has been helping doctors carry out their rounds in the COVID-19 Unit of Tygerberg Hospital. The robot carries a tablet, which doctors use to communicate with their patients, zoom to see their vitals, and check on them.

This adds both protection for doctors from potentially contracting COVID-19 from their patients, and also allows doctors to still carry out their rounds while in isolation or quarantine.

Quintin will now be showing a robot ‘sister’ the ropes, as she will be joining him on the front line. Named Salma, the new robot will be Quintin’s rounds companion.

“A local company, called Smollan, heard the news about the good work that Quintin was doing in the Tygerberg Hospital. They had a similar robot (Double Robotics) which they then decided to donate to Prof Coenie Koegelenberg. Prof Koegelenberg is with the ICU at Tygerberg Hospital and is also Pulmonary Specialist at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Quintin and Selma are now working together on the frontline in the COVID-19 ICU in Tygerberg Hospital,” said Wilma Stassen, media liaison at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University.

Prof Coenie Koegelenberg, Selma, Dr Usha Lalla, , Mr Rudi Nienaber from Smollan (who donated the robot) and Prof Ian Vlok.

“It is important to note that the robots don’t replace any of the healthcare workers, but enables them to check on patients and even engage with patients without physically having to be by the bedside – therefore reducing the healthcare worker’s risk of infection,” Stassen said. “It also enables some healthcare workers to perform their work even if they have to go into quarantine/isolation. Technically they will be able to ‘work from home’ as they log on to a virtual platform from which they control the robot. As there are not many ICU specialists, their skills are quite rare, and Quintin and Salma are helping to make these skills more accessible.”

Picture: Supplied/Stellenbosch University

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.