Purple death-ray robot? Hospitals scramble for better safety ratings

The gizmo known as Tru-D is designed to cut infection risk at Jupiter Medical Center. (Bruce Bennett, Palm Beach Post)

The gizmo known as Tru-D is designed to cut infection risk at Jupiter Medical Center. (Bruce Bennett, Palm Beach Post)

Purple light streams from what looks like a Star Wars robot. It’s not a movie trailer.  The $90,000 machine is designed to fight bacteria and other threats that can make patients sick — in a place that is supposed to make them well.

Patients  sometimes watch in fascination when Tru-D — call it Clean 3PO or the nickname of your choice — does its thing in a closed room near them at Jupiter  Medical  Center.

“They’re just amazed,” said Uvonda Graham, the hospital’s supervisor of environmental services. “They think it’s an outer-space thing.”

The goal is very down to earth: Cut down on avoidable errors. The hospital is one of two in Palm Beach County to earn an A safety score from The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group that rates more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals.

Read more about the grades for all Palm Beach County hospitals here.

It is no easy struggle.  In the latest report card, three times as many county hospitals get a C as an A.

There is plenty at stake. The grades come as new research estimates preventable medical errors claim more than 250,000 U.S. lives annually. Only heart disease and cancer kill more people, researchers say.

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