Medical Technology

In the Future many Patients may not have a Choice

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"In the Future many Patients may not have a Choice"
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Today we have limited use of robots for surgery. In the future, even clinics will have robots for simple surgical procedures.

First off, I refer to them as mediunits. That is what I have called them for over two decades. In the future, there will be three basic types that will perform surgeries. They are the assisting mediunits, the primary surgical mediunits, and the ceiling mediunits. I will deal with each.


This is one that will be like an assistant for the surgeons. Sort of like an extra pair of hands. Many surgeons that do microsurgery will use them like microscopes with surgical instruments as fingers. Surgeons will direct the mediunits to do more precise operations that can't be performed by humans.

Assisting mediunits will be able to catch some problems before the humans can and will send out alarms to alert the surgeons of possible complications. After the surgery is over, the mediunit will be sterilized to be used for future surgeries and probably placed in a special cabinet for use later.


This will be like a chief of surgery in that it will do the primary procedures. Humans will be assisting it when needed. They won't all have just two arms. Some may look like mechanical octopuses that can do the job of four surgeons. If there are any complications, the mediunit will be able to refer to medical texts to see what to do. The patients had better be unconscious or else they will have nightmares if the enter the operating room and see the mediunit waiting for them.


These mediunits will remind many people of futuristic torture chamber devices with the many arms coming down from the ceiling with the various instruments. One of these units may be able to handle a patient by itself. For hospitals with heavy workloads, the ceiling mediunits will be able to handle patients quickly and efficiently. What now takes 4 to 6 hours or even longer might be handled in less than an hour. If a surgeon earned, say, $1000 an hour for an operation, if that is the case, the ceiling mediunit might save the patients $3000 to $5000 or more since the mediunit doesn't need to be paid and will be available around the clock.

If a ceiling mediunit system cost $300,000 and could do an average of 20 operations a day, at a cost of $1000 per operation, the ceiling mediunit could be paid for in half a month. After that, the hospital will be making mainly profit. In the best hospitals, there might be over half a dozen ceiling mediunits and over a dozen of the others.

The bedside manners of the mediunits will leave much to be desired. That is why there will still be a need for humans so that the patients aren't so frightened. A woman told me that she would never want a robot to operate on her. I told her that she would be unconscious at the time and wouldn't know a robot had operated on her. Today she might be more willing to allow a robot to operate on her. In the future, many patients may not have a choice.

More about this author: Rick Badman

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