A Hospital Scenario – in 2029
I was admitted to the hospital again for the extraction of my thick blood as I was having extreme discomfort for the high viscosity of my blood as usual. My brother arranged everything in his hospital for me as always. And while waiting for a nurse or a medical staff to make an IV channel on my wrist I fell asleep on the hospital bed.
After some time, as I was still asleep, I heard a conversation between my wife and someone very strange. My subconscious mind was trying to grasp what the conversation all about.
My wife: “Is there no one else to do the procedure?”
Robo: “Ma’am, I am assigned to do the procedure.”
My wife: “How can you do that? Who’s there to operate or manage you?”
Robo: “Ma’am, I am automated and there’s no one who can operate me.”
My wife: “Hey, see… wake up… Please call your brother and ask him to come here… I am so worried…”
I felt someone trying to wake me up… And I woke up to see my wife with a nur…se… What… I could not believe what I saw. It was quite evident why my wife was so worried. I was scared too. It was a robot, not any female or male human nurse. I searched for my phone and called up my doctor brother and asked him to come to that ward immediately. But he blatantly refused to come as he was busy in a surgery and asked me to stay calm, “Moxi will handle everything“.
“Who’s Moxi?” I retorted.
“The humanoid robot nurse who’s very efficient and accurate to make IV lines on your wrist and draw the blood out ” He assured before hanging up.
Moxi stared at me and asked, “Are you ready, Sir?” I replied, “I am not, but you can go ahead…” And it started making IV line on my left wrist despite of our worries and anxieties… But to my amazement I didn’t even feel it when it finished making the IV channel. My confidence on Moxi increased and I assured my wife that this Robo is a genius.
Later a female nurse appeared in that ward, patted Moxi as it greeted her and she started speaking to me…
“Sir, Dr. Panda sent me to assure you that Moxi is fantastic and very efficient much more than me or any human nurses. Moreover, as a friendly, sensitive and intuitive robot, Moxi not only alleviates clinical staff of routine tasks but does so in a non-threatening and supportive way that encourages positive relationships between humans and robots.”
She spoke again as we both husband and wife curiously listened to her… “Don’t you like how Moxi performed the procedure on you, Sir?” She winked at Moxi and the robo winked back at her.
I nodded to her, gritting my teeth as Moxi finished the procedure of bloodletting with such an ease without even letting me feel a bit of pricking pain of the needle. I agreed to the nurse about Moxi’s efficiency. My fear subsided and I saw my wife had already started interacting with ever friendly Moxi. I was amused seeing how Moxi combated my wife’s arrows of questions by replying all her queries paitiently, intelligently and tactfully.
I was discharged from the hospital that day after the procedure, thanking Moxi for being so caring, friendly and efficient with the procedure I underwent. Guess what? It acknowledged my appreciation politely.
A humanoid companion, Pepper the robot has been first launched and put to work in two hospitals in Belgium, assisting medical staff with daily tasks. It was regarded as the first Robo to recognize human emotions. The basic model of these robots is available for around €1,800 ($2,000) and was launched by Aldebaran Robotics back in 2014 to much fanfare in Japan.
There’s an advanced and much more expensive next-generation version of Pepper, installed with software by Belgium’s Zora Robotics to help it function within a medical workspace, has now had its first experience carrying out duties within a hospital.
The advent of humanoid robots like Pepper and Moxi can really bring the efficiency level of services provided by the hospitals to the highest level but I was just wondering how I would have felt if I would have been under the care of robots all around me in the years like 2001 or 2005 or 2017 when I stayed in the hospital for more than a week!!! I understand for a one-day procedure the care managed by Moxi is fine but will I be fine if I had to stay with it for more than a week?
I remember, on the day of surgery in 2001 when Sarah, the nurse woke me up at 4 AM in the morning asking me to take bath and get ready, my heart was racing and pounding heavily, my face was looking utterly pale. And when I was leaving the ward for the OT she clasped my hand and said, “Chiradeep, see you soon after the surgery… we will be praying for you“. That gave me so much strength that day. When I came back to the ward after surgery there were smiles on everyone’s face, welcoming me back absolutely fine.
Probably, Moxi being such an advanced Robo would have done the same thing as Sarah and other nurses did… But would I have felt that connection with it as I felt with Sarah and others?
Some may think that for an introvert Robot is a better option. I being a super extrovert would find it difficult without other humans around me. But as far as my knowledge about the introverts is concerned they crave for interaction even if they are unable to convey it as better as the extroverts.
I would definitely struggle with a robot if I have to spend more than a days time in the hospital.
I remember one Bible verse in connection to this subject: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone”. This verse not only implies man’s bonding with a woman in marriage but also talks about the secrets of human survival that is – being with each other. Even we know, social science says, “Human is a social animal”. They really can’t survive without each other. And being with a robot is nothing more than to be alone.
I like what Aastha said in her conclusion, – Robot or Human companionship? then, human companionship. Nothing or Robot? then, Robot.
If in future I happen to meet Moxi in the hospital and it asks me, “What else I can do for you, Sir?” Then my response would be, “Would you mind bringing a female human nurse to me as soon as possible, Moxi darling?” 😛