Maricopa Medical Center gets high-tech room sanitizers

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By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

PHOENIX -- Maricopa Medical Center is the first hospital in the Valley to own a new, high-tech room sanitizing machine that uses the power of UV rays to make sure rooms are totally clean.

The combination of bacteria and medical patients can be a dangerous one, especially in areas like burn units where patients aren't as capable of fighting off infections as a healthy person, according to Dorrine Gray of the Maricopa Integrated Health System.

Gray said that level of vulnerability makes a device as expensive as the new sanitizers -- they cost more than $35,000 each -- worth it to better serve patients.

"It is very priceless," Gray said. "That's why we go into nursing or into healthcare, it's because we want to help people, not harm them. And this device increases patient safety."

Once the device is powered on, bulbs activate within the machine. Those bulbs then use UV light to destroy any microorganisms in a room, like bacteria or fungal spores.

The UV light used by the machines can be dangerous, but doctors said that just making sure the room's door is closed while the machine is on means the light can't reach anyone. It takes five minutes for the machine to effectively clean an area.

Both devices are on wheels, so they're able to be moved from room to room whenever somewhere needs disinfecting. Since the wide variety of illnesses in a hospital make it difficult to prevent infectious microorganisms, the device is expected to stop the infection from actually reaching patients.

Around 250 facilities have this kind of sanitizing machine across the nation.