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Medicine AI Robotics

Would You Let a Robot Stick You With a Needle? 209

Posted by timothy
from the with-pleasure-and-gusto dept.
An anonymous reader writes "IEEE Spectrum has a story about a robot that uses infra red and ultrasound to image veins, picks the one with best bloodflow, and then sticks a needle in. (video included). Veebot started as an undergrad project and the creators are aiming for better performance than a human phlebotimist before going for clinical trials. Robodracula anyone?"
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Would You Let a Robot Stick You With a Needle?

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  • Why yes, I would. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:27AM (#44397537)

    I'll always take a robot over a human when my safety is in question. I want a human involved, but predictable error that can be controlled is far preferable to unknowable error modes of humans.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:34AM (#44397559) Journal

      predictable error that can be controlled is far preferable to unknowable error modes of humans.

      This is exactly backwards....a human will be aware enough to never jab the needle all the way through your arm. If there's a bug, the computer will do that happily and quickly.

      Therac-25 is an example of the dangers of improperly tested computers with lethal equipment.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Isaac-1 (233099)

        and repeatedly

      • Re:Why yes, I would. (Score:5, Informative)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:56AM (#44397601)

        Therac-25 is an example of the dangers of improperly tested computers with lethal equipment.

        The Therac-25 [wikipedia.org] was the result of layer after layer of utter incompetence. They assigned a programmer who wasn't qualified to write a javascript button-click handler, to write life-critical sofware. Then no one else even looked at his code. There was no design review, no QA or bug tracking, and very little testing. Even after the defect was reported, there was no review or followup, or realization that it could even be a software problem. But the problem went much deeper. The hardware design was just as defective. There were no interlocks, in either hardware or firmware, to prevent defective software from killing patients. Many books on mission critical embedded system design devote an entire chapter to all the stupid mistakes that made up the Therac-25. If you make a list of the rules of sane system design, the Therac-25 design will have violated nearly every one of them.

        • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:15AM (#44398797)

          And the exact same thing could happen to any other completely mechanical device. Unless you wrote the software or were closely involved with the development process, you have no fucking clue as an end user of medical devices if its actually safe to use.

          Yes, its an example of how to do it wrong, but you CAN NOT ignore the fact that IT HAPPENED.

          The example is mentioned not to show how it can be done wrong, but that even in the highly regulated medical industry, where lives are ALWAYS on the line, it slipped right through with a completely improper design and inadequate testing, where as even a 15 year old would be more reliable at noticing the missing filter when reconfiguring the machine more often than the T-25 failed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            How many doctors have killed people? You can't ignore those either.

          • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:11AM (#44399515)

            And the exact same thing could happen to any other completely mechanical device.

            You design the mechanism so that it is physically impossible for the software to do something dangerous. In the case of Therac-25, there should have been a mechanical interlock that cut power to the radiator when the shield was not in place. In the case of the needle sticking robot, you use an actuator with a stroke of, say, 5mm. Then there there is no way it could "jab through your arm". You also use a weak actuator, that doesn't have enough physical strength to push into bone, even when given full power. You put a spring-loaded (not software controlled) sheath over the needle, so the needle is never exposed unless it is pressed against skin. You design the hardware assuming the software is malicious. You design away any way you can think of for the software to do harm.

            Then you design the software assuming the all the mechanical interlocks have failed, and use sensors to double check everything.

            • by icebike (68054)

              You design the mechanism so that it is physically impossible for the software to do something dangerous. In the case of Therac-25, there should have been a mechanical interlock that cut power to the radiator when the shield was not in place. In the case of the needle sticking robot, you use an actuator with a stroke of, say, 5mm. Then there there is no way it could "jab through your arm". You also use a weak actuator, that doesn't have enough physical strength to push into bone, even when given full power. You put a spring-loaded (not software controlled) sheath over the needle, so the needle is never exposed unless it is pressed against skin. You design the hardware assuming the software is malicious. You design away any way you can think of for the software to do harm.

              Then you design the software assuming the all the mechanical interlocks have failed, and use sensors to double check everything.

              Exactly.
              But you also make the output of the sensor system visible to the human attendant (who will be there anyway), and provide them a safety override switch, for when the needle breaks off in the patients arm due to a flinch or for what ever reason.

              Come to think of it, maybe just providing the human with the sensor system may yield better results, and probably provide faster service in a wider variety of situations.

              Unless you envision this as a self service device, you are going to have a nurse there any

        • Yeah you are rigth in everything you say. Now, what makes you think that's not exactly what will happen with your next needle robot? Greedy capitalism?

          At keast humans have that envelope protection called 'common sense'.

          • Assuming they care to use it... which there is no guarantee they do, and don't even get me started on serial killers in the medical industry.

            TBH, I'd much rather risk facing the one time the robot would stab my arm before the problem is universally fixed, than risk the ongoing problem of crazy or negligent humans.
          • Greedy capitalism?

            Greedy capitalists don't like expensive lawsuits.

        • Honestly, I think the main problem was far simpler than high school level coding practices.

          When this happens: "The feeling was described by patient Ray Cox as "an intense electric shock", causing him to scream and run out of the treatment room."
          And then the patient dies of radiation poisoning.
          And you continue using the machine for years afterwards without understanding what happened, and patients continue to die over a 2 year period.

          That is your main problem, right there.

        • But the problem went much deeper.

          Even deeper than you think. It probably started with no one ever doing a hazard analysis on the design, which lead to no one ever realizing that the machine can and will kill people, given the wrong kind of malfunction.

          If no one ever says "Hey, this thing can kill people, what do we do to prevent that?", then no prevention is ever going to take place.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          This is how much safety critical software is written. I used to do code for fire alarm and smoke extract systems. The company very clearly defined the circumstances under which it would work: one fire in one location. Two fires and you were screwed. No-body reviewed my code, and the only testing was when the guy installing it got on site and tried it. Finally a fire martial would ask for a demonstration of the agreed functionality, not bothering to check any more than the simplest of fault conditions, and t

      • Re:Why yes, I would. (Score:5, Informative)

        by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:37AM (#44397691) Journal

        a human will be aware enough to never jab the needle all the way through your arm. If there's a bug, the computer will do that happily and quickly.

        And a bit of thought to the mechanical design of the robot will prevent it ever having the physical capability to do that.

        Which oddly enough, is how they've designed the robot in TFA....

      • I'm fairly certain that you can make it mechanically impossible for this to happen in a needle jabbing machine.

        And a human could have a seizure or something and jab the needle all the way through your arm.
      • by Splab (574204)

        You sir, are an idiot. Plain and simple.

        Humans make quite a lot of errors when extracting blood, they put puncture the backside of the vein, they miss the vein - and this is on healthy adults with fairly visible veins.
        When it comes to getting a vein on a child or elderly, it can take them many tries, if a robot can find the vein faster and with less complications involved, then it could ultimately save lives.

        Personal experience: when I was a child they had 5 goes at my right hand and another 6 at my left, b

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          I still don't see how it would "save lives". I don't think anybody has ever died from a badly done needle. Perhaps you can die from needing some live saving IV and them not being able to find the vein, but I'm pretty sure they'd just go for another target, like in the feet, if they were having lots problems in the hand or arms. The biggest problem I forsee from robots, is that it makes medical care more expensive. Which is becoming a big problem. Robots won't make it cheaper, since there won't be a situa
          • by Livius (318358)

            They'd be better off developing some kind of realistic anatomical hand so that nurses and doctors can get more practice.

            Which would be great if there were such a thing. Everyone is different because blood vessels are created by a fractal-generating algorithm.

        • How about using augmented reality so the person collecting the blood can see the vein the same way the robot can and have annotations for the best spot instead of having the robot also do the decision of where to actually jab?

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          You sir, are an idiot. Plain and simple.

          Humans make quite a lot of errors when extracting blood, they put puncture the backside of the vein, they miss the vein - and this is on healthy adults with fairly visible veins.
          When it comes to getting a vein on a child or elderly, it can take them many tries, if a robot can find the vein faster and with less complications involved, then it could ultimately save lives.

          Personal experience: when I was a child they had 5 goes at my right hand and another 6 at my left, before hitting a vein. As an adult donating blood, I've had them miss my vein because they where too busy thinking about something else, I've had them puncture the backside of the vein, resulting in quite a huge "bruise" (the blood will flow out and collect in the elbow, which looks absolutely grim, but is not dangerous).

          A robot can do the same task over and over, never make mistakes due to personal problems etc. Sure, a malfunction *could* happen, but we have used robots along side humans for ages and we use them for surgeries now, with very few problems.

          Most of the problems you describe aren't the problem of the person sticking you but a problem with the veins in the person. Veins roll, they collapse, people involuntarily twitch and all sorts of other factors come into play. A robot sticking a patient will not be immune to that, nor would this be something as simple as a robot doing a repetetive task over and over as each and every stick will be different and unique, even on the same patient from one day to the next as you can't use the same site twice in

        • You sir, are an idiot. Plain and simple.

          Um, thanks, so are you. Also, your post didn't actually relate to mine at all, it was like an unrelated monologue about why you would like a robot to give you injections. It's like you didn't even read my post.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        "If there is a bug". I doubt very much you'll see buggy equipment on hospital wards. Not in the medical profession. There's no shortage of money to buy machines that really work, versus massive company-breaking lawsuits for machines that are "buggy". And to be honest (I was just in the hospital last week), phlebotomy is a skill few people know how to exercise correctly. It took 4 pokes to get a single IV in my arm, and an average of 2 pokes for every blood test. When you're getting blood tests 2/3 times a d
        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          "If there is a bug". I doubt very much you'll see buggy equipment on hospital wards. Not in the medical profession. There's no shortage of money to buy machines that really work, versus massive company-breaking lawsuits for machines that are "buggy". And to be honest (I was just in the hospital last week), phlebotomy is a skill few people know how to exercise correctly. It took 4 pokes to get a single IV in my arm, and an average of 2 pokes for every blood test. When you're getting blood tests 2/3 times a day, you start to appreciate the guy/gal who knows where to do it. I'd take the machine, if it were proven to be better than a human.

          How true, but then again, we will replace a $7.00 charge for a blood draw with a $40.00 charge for the robotic blood draw to cover the cost of the equipment and then some. If you are averaging 2 pokes for every blood test, there is something wrong. At the local hospital here, the statistic is 1.2 sticks per draw. That's not bad considering that includes everything from newborns to elderly. I wonder how much better the robot will be and at what cost?

        • "If there is a bug". I doubt very much you'll see buggy equipment on hospital wards.

          As someone who's worked on medical equipment, I guarantee you'll see buggy equipment on hospital wards.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        This is exactly backwards....a human will be aware enough to never jab the needle all the way through your arm.

        http://www.ehow.com/about_6595401_phlebotomy-injuries.html [ehow.com]

        If there's a bug, the computer will do that happily and quickly.

        You would design the hardware not even to be capable of that.

      • Of course you can design a robot to not go too far in case of a system failure. You know by putting a mechanical stop in the flexibility of the joint.

        The thing is to properly test the equipment. You can have an improperly trained person cause just as much damage. The neat thing with robots, you can get it programmed to a particular degree of accuracy. then you can duplicate it over and over. For people it is like having to write a new program every time.

      • by pakar (813627)

        And most cars are controlled by computers... so why does not the break's fail or the gas locked to the maximum all the time?

        You can design safe systems... If something invalid is detected then go to fail mode and safely stop the procedure. Failure detection can be a combination of both software and physical sensors and could be a secondary system that would operate completely separate from the main one.

        And Therac-25 is a really bad example of a poorly designed system.... But there is one interesting thing a

        • Designing software for safety and/or graceful failures can be tricky, but it's not hard...

          This is clear evidence that you've never done it.

          Why did they write this in assembly??? Make it much harder to do reviews on.... If they did it because they had to little cpu-resources then should have added more resources.

          You have no idea how much this quote entertains me.

      • Or decide the the best blood flow is from a vein running through your eye.

    • The problem is that when you have so many different types, as lobotomist, it brings in the element of mistake more often than not.
    • by Sun (104778)

      For me, it's not the human error aspect, but rather the increased sensory equipment.

      I went through chemotherapy a few years ago. One of its (many) side effects was to obliterate my veins. Every time I need to have my blood taken (which is once a year at the very least), my usual nurse first breaths a heavy sigh, then asks me where would I like to be repeatedly stabbed.

      If the robot's extra sensors allowed it to stab just once, I'd take the risk of malfunction. Assuming proper hardware design, my robot's wors

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        You need a new nurse!

        It is entirely unacceptable for a ANYONE to take more than one shot at getting into your veins, even entirely collapsed veins. When you do this many times a day, every day, if you don't know how to do it, you don't need to be in the medical profession.

        Note: My father had cancer and my wife is a doctor. Its just unacceptable to need more than one try. You shouldn't have gotten out of med school.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        For me, it's not the human error aspect, but rather the increased sensory equipment.

        I went through chemotherapy a few years ago. One of its (many) side effects was to obliterate my veins. Every time I need to have my blood taken (which is once a year at the very least), my usual nurse first breaths a heavy sigh, then asks me where would I like to be repeatedly stabbed.

        If the robot's extra sensors allowed it to stab just once, I'd take the risk of malfunction. Assuming proper hardware design, my robot's worst case cannot be all that worse than my human's typical case.

        Shachar

        But that is the issue, your bad sticks aren't the fault of the nurse, but your own scarred veins. The robot can't fix your veins, so that problem will persist. The robot worst case may not be any worse than the human's, but if the veins are bad, it may not be any better, either. Face it, on good veins, either one should do fine. On bad veins, both will have problems. The only place it will make a difference are those in the middle.

        And chances are, in your case, where the veins are heavily scarred the robot

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      No robot doctor discussion is complete without mention of short-film "Dr. Easy" [vimeo.com].

    • by durrr (1316311)

      Yes well, clearly a robot is preferable as they've yet to kill and maim as many people as humans have.

    • Alright, now what about recent reports about how most equipment in Hospitals are infected by some sort of Malware?. It's safe to say when these Robots are placed in those facilities, they will become infected along with other equipment. You really want this infected Robot poking around your circulatory system?.

      Not only this, in my area I've been seeing advertisements on TV from Law Offices whom are seeking applicants who have been injured by Robotic Equipment. So the injuries have already started. You think

      • by Livius (318358)

        Germs in a hospital are not going to corrupt robotic software.

      • by pakar (813627)

        Alright, now what about recent reports about how most equipment in Hospitals are infected by some sort of Malware?. It's safe to say when these Robots are placed in those facilities, they will become infected along with other equipment. You really want this infected Robot poking around your circulatory system?.

        Devices like this are usually not connected to any network in that sense.... For this one it would only have to be connected if they wanted the vein images from the machine...
        There already exists many types of automated systems in hospitals today, like heart-lung machines or how about pace-makers that people are walking around with outside... If they manage to keep the heart-lung machines working i think they can manage to keep this one running too...

        Not only this, in my area I've been seeing advertisements on TV from Law Offices whom are seeking applicants who have been injured by Robotic Equipment. So the injuries have already started. You think about those things. What would be nice would be a safer, non-automated device for Blood extraction.

        ehmm... "Robotic equipment"... quite broad statement... c

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          To add to your comment ...

          Commercials from a lawyer seeking applicants ... so ambulance chasers are how we judge medicine now days? Seriously?

    • Rule 1 if you are going to get your blood drawn. DO NOT... I REPEATE... DO NOT GET IT DONE BY A DOCTOR, Get it done by a trained tech. a Doctor will screw up and you will have massive bruises. A tech will be in and out without much pain.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      I'll always take a robot over a human when my safety is in question. I want a human involved, but predictable error that can be controlled is far preferable to unknowable error modes of humans.

      And your safety is in question by getting a needle, how? Besides, how is your arm going to get lined up for the robot to stick you? Will another robot do that or will a person be involved, whether you yourself or another person?

      The problem with sticking people is not with finding the vein with the best blood flow, it is with the vein rolling to the side or collapsing. How is the robot going to improve upon that? It can't, it can only deal with it, like the nurse or phlebotomist and will do so most likely

    • by murdocj (543661)

      I'll always take a human over a robot where my safety is in question. I want someone who can assess the situation and deal with what's happening in those cases where it's outside the unexpected.

    • There are (normally) 2 humans involved in needling: the needler (nurse, doctor), and the needlee (patient).

      So this robot does away with one of them (needler). But it still leaves you, the needlee. A movement of the arm at the wrong time, or just tensing up may make the thing lots more painful than they would otherwise be. Or worse: getting a shot in the ass while standing and then slipping and falling. Ouch!

  • As soon as it's been QA'd extremely well. I don't want to be a test subject for a poorly designed/constructed system.
  • I'll give it a try (Score:4, Informative)

    by rgmoore (133276) <glandauer@charter.net> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:40AM (#44397577) Homepage
    I'd be willing to give it a try. I've been stuck by enough nurses in my life that I'd be willing to give a robot a try. I wonder if it would identify the same spot that the human phlebotomists always use; I've given blood enough times that I have a nice scar to show where the needle ought to go.
    • by sumdumass (711423)

      I had a short hospital stay (10 days) and needed blood drawn every 4 hours the first few days. They had to use a different spot each time too. I had a few who seemed that they couldn't stick a needle in a pin cushion if you put a magnet inside it. I remember asking one girl if she wanted me to give it a try after she missed 10 or so times. Then there was a few who would only need one shot and they had it.

      I would give it a try too. If it was mounted on a moveable cart, it wouldn't be too different then how t

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Arterial blood gases are even more fun, very few people can get that right first go. I happen to be good at it and get it first time, every time. But I am the exception, and it took a lot of practice as an intern! :)
  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:57AM (#44397603) Journal

    They used to jab the tip of your finger. That's just about the most sensitive, painful place they could choose to get a blood sample. Fingertips have the greatest concentration of nerves. Being medical professionals, they of all people should know that. So why couldn't they prick some other spot, like the forearm? It really seemed like they were at best indifferent to causing their patients unnecessary pain. At worst, I wondered if some of them were sadists.

    Some years ago, a change in this procedure came along. Now, they prick the side of the finger, not the tip. Much, much less painful.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      Everyone who's taken a droplet sample from me, has taken it from my fingertip. There's usually a preemptive apology involved, because they know it stings like an SOB, but it's definitely still operating procedure where I am.
    • by sirwired (27582) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:28AM (#44397827)

      The skin on the tips of your fingers is both thick and generally well-vascularized, (but not so much that there is any chance of hitting a larger vessel).
      They don't have to pinch your skin to force sufficient blood to the surface to collect. (This causes bruising in people with fragile skin.)
      There is a very high concentration of nerve endings, the pain receptors are not nearly as dense.
      There's no muscle, which is sore for some time when injured.
      It's consistent from person to person; a forearm stick will vary widely depending on the thickness of the skin, fat, and muscle layers. That's not a worry on the fingertip, where everybody will have enough skin that that's the layer they'll always be drawing from.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I had a diabetic friend who used to prick his finger on the side of his finger. Pricks on the tips were bothersome, especially when you're typing a lot. on the side, you can get just as much blood, or at least enough for bloodsugar testing, and it's a lot easier on your fingers.
    • by Livius (318358)

      It tests blood in circulation in delicate capillaries located far away from the heart.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      The fingertips are also full of capillaries that allow a nice small droplet of blood to come out very easy, without a stream following it and needed bandaids.

      Your feet, equally painful and equally great for getting blood out, which is why they do it on newborns and babies, where fingers are just too tiny and movable to try and put them into a machine (since the baby rarely does what you ask him/her to do fresh out of the womb ;)

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      They used to jab the tip of your finger. That's just about the most sensitive, painful place they could choose to get a blood sample. Fingertips have the greatest concentration of nerves. Being medical professionals, they of all people should know that. So why couldn't they prick some other spot, like the forearm? It really seemed like they were at best indifferent to causing their patients unnecessary pain. At worst, I wondered if some of them were sadists.

      Some years ago, a change in this procedure came along. Now, they prick the side of the finger, not the tip. Much, much less painful.

      When using a lancet on the fingertip, the proper procedure is to twist it so it makes a small cut. Jabbing it, while making a cut, also bruises the underlying tissue, which causes lasting pain. As for causing unnesessary pain, well, I never knew a nurse or phlebotomist who went around sticking people without a doctor's order, so unless you know of a way to obtain a blood sample to fulfill that doctor's order that is painless, it is hardly unnecessary pain.

  • I think you mean, "Robo-Dr. Acula!" [wikia.com] (Video [youtube.com])
  • by drolli (522659)

    I had a trombosis and got blood taken for amalysis more than once per week for half a year. Some nurses are good at it, some suck. And after hitting each of the standard places 10 times only the ones who are good at it will sudded without additional pain.

    I would recomment/prefer to build the system not as a robot but as scanner which guides the nurse and indicates the right position to her does the fine positioning on the mm scale.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      ...

      I would recomment/prefer to build the system not as a robot but as scanner which guides the nurse and indicates the right position to her does the fine positioning on the mm scale.

      I've heard they have a machine for this actually. When i was at the hospital someone was supposed to bring some machine up to get blood from me, but they just took it from my artery instead. The specifics i do not know.

  • Machines and computers are ideally suited to many of the tasks that make up medical care. Autonomous systems are already omnipresent throughout medicine and its only a matter of time before we trust them ahead of error-prone humans, especially for tasks that require fast reaction, repetition, or precision.

    Future generations may gasp at the thought that at one point in our history we went under the knife to mortal hands.

    • The better question would be, do you want a human to be responsible for your intensive care? Would you want a human to replace the machines that might keep you alive one day? That do your dialysis?

      I sure as HELL would not!

      Machines are ideally suited for performing routine tasks that have little if any variation. It will of course take a time to perfect them and it will probably result in accidents and errors in the early stages, and I most certainly would want a qualified person there to oversee the whole o

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Machines and computers are ideally suited to many of the tasks that make up medical care. Autonomous systems are already omnipresent throughout medicine and its only a matter of time before we trust them ahead of error-prone humans, especially for tasks that require fast reaction, repetition, or precision.

      Future generations may gasp at the thought that at one point in our history we went under the knife to mortal hands.

      Many of the machines and computers used in medicine today do not necessarily provide better care or more efficient care. In the US, there is a culture in medicine that new technology is better, even if it is not. 10 years ago, if you twisted your ankle, you maybe got an x-ray. Today you get a CT scan or an MRI. Studies show that the CT Scan and MRIs tend to occur if one has insurance and the x-ray if one does not. One Harvard Medical (I think) study showed that the prognosis/recovery rate was the same re

  • One thing about a human doctor though is that they often know what it feels like to be in pain. A robot doesn't as it only has an algorithm. A nurse, when she sticks the needle in, will notice how you react, whether you feel pain or not. I would think the robot would need to have some manner of sensing if it is doing something harmful or painful to the patient.

    However, I have had doctors and nurses that are completely insensitive to their patients, so if the robot can get it right each time it might be a be

  • Nurses, and whomever tries to take blood from me has a hell of a time and usually costs me a bit of pain. Recently I had to go to ER for some chest pains. It took them 2+ hours to get blood out of me. They never put an IV in me like they were planning.

    So yes, I'd take a robot doing this. Technology has advanced far enough that machines can be responsible enough to do stuff like this, imo.

    • Whether or not a robot does your next jab you might consider drinking water an hour or so beforehand to get fully hydrated. This will help a lot in case you haven't been doing this and you can drink water even if you need to fast.

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Nurses, and whomever tries to take blood from me has a hell of a time and usually costs me a bit of pain. Recently I had to go to ER for some chest pains. It took them 2+ hours to get blood out of me. They never put an IV in me like they were planning.

      So yes, I'd take a robot doing this. Technology has advanced far enough that machines can be responsible enough to do stuff like this, imo.

      If it took 2 hours to get blood from you while they thought you were having a heart attack a robot won't do any better. See, that's the problem with robots, if the patient is outside the tolerance level of what it can do for a successful stick, it won't do it and a human being will need to make the stick. Of course, if the robot is now doing 80% of the sticks, exactly how much expertise will the human being have?

  • I'm not worried about it. Robots like this could be great life savers for remote communities that have bad medical care. Or even great for people bedridden at home that need fairly consistent medical attention.

    What will be interesting is that at some point the robots will start automating more and more... and we might see some sophisticated autodocs. That's going to be a far future development. But this is where it starts folks.

  • I'd let the robot show a human the vein, but it would stop there. just spent 3 months in hospital, needles every 3 days, only one nurse used an infra-red device to locate a vein, many were told to come back later, they only get 2 chances!

  • A nurse once tried to draw blood from an acquaintance of mine, and ended up paralyzing him for over a year before he managed to get the use of his arm back. They were sure he was never going to have the feeling returned to his arm. If the machine can reliably find the right areas the stick then more power to them. With nurses and other individuals, it's still often a matter of trial an error, especially on certain patients with harder to find veins.

  • A druggy can do it, why should a robot fail where a dopehead succeeds?

  • Sure I would - after I had read the studies about its reliability and watched you do it first.

    I have had really good people take blood from a vein (including a nervous pathology collector who did a perfect job) and at least one agonising experience (medical registrar).

    At least you don't have to make inane conversation with robodracula while it drills for oil in your arm (oops, that was the medical registrar).

  • 1 billion blood draws a year at 90% accuracy making 100 million blue of skin death events :-) G
  • Most of the times they screw up when tapping blood from me so I would have more faith in a robot

  • I haven't looked it up but there has got do be robot needle porn out there. Those guys would respond with a very enthusiastic "Yes!".
  • It just has to be better than the majority of junior medical staff that do this sort of thing, especially freshman medics and nursing students. Yes, some more experienced staff will not be helped by this, but improving the level of care for most people is still a worthwhile goal.

  • Would You Let a Robot Stick You With a Needle?

    Is BDSM Involved?

  • My wife is in the medical field. She recently got a new job at a new place that uses a robotic needle. Having been the person that normally administers the needle she was a bit concerned about the whole robot thing but after she started using it she says it's far superior to doing it by hand. She's told me the robot is so good at it she's been told by the patients that they don't even feel the needle go in. Then there's the added benefit of no needle sticks. At least once a year my wife would have a needle

  • Since it will be less error-prone, and potentially cleaner, than a human.
    After all, robotic hip replacement has been around for a while, and has proven both faster and better....

    You'd have to be pretty damn confident to sign up for a robotic vasectomy, tho...

  • I'm actually really surprised that people are so paranoid about a needle jab machine, and not so worried about, say, the drive-by-wire systems in their own cars. I would expect that a medical machine would be at least as rigorously tested and reviewed, given the lessons learned from Therac.
  • I'll keep my big-breasted nurse, thank you very much. ...unless you can add breasts and a nice ass to the robot? Hmmm...
  • From the article:

    Inside the archway, an inflatable cuff tightens around the arm, holding it in place and restricting blood flow to make the veins easier to see.

    So far so goo, standard procedure ... but wait, a few lines later:

    The vein is examined with ultrasound to confirm that it is large enough and has sufficient blood flowing through it.

    How much blood do they expect to flow through veins that have been blocked by external pressure? I hope it's just a problem with the article, not with the actual de

  • After Sharknado, anything is possible

  • Is this a medicalbot or a sexbot, I can't tell which due to the prick.

    Aside from that yes I'd allow a bot to needle me. It would probably be better than an unsteady hand of a tech and much more accurate. I really can't see it hurting worse than if a human were to do it.

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