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October 29, 2013

WICHITA, Kansas – Wesley Medical Center’s newest approach to better disinfecting patient rooms looks like something out of science fiction. But the results it produces are very real.

The new Xenex room disinfection system features a germ-zapping robot that uses ultraviolet light 25,000 times more powerful than sunlight to quickly “zap” nasty organisms that cause infections like the flu, norovirus, MRSA and Clostridum difficile (C. diff ).

Wesley is the only hospital in south-central Kansas to offer the Xenex room disinfection device.

“This technology is being used in high-risk areas in conjunction with the extensive cleaning services already provided by our environmental services team,” said Lois Rahal, Wesley’s infection prevention nurse. “This new technology will help us ensure the cleanest, safest environment possible for patients and staff.”

In minutes, the device can disinfect a patient room, patient bathroom or operating room by pulsing its light, which washes over the surfaces where germs can reside. Because the Xenex robot uses UV light, it is able to reach every surface in the room, and it does not leave a chemical residue. Each treatment takes about 5 minutes.

To disinfect a room after standard cleaning procedures are complete, hospital team members wheel the Xenex robot into the room, position it beside the bed, begin the automated sequence and then leave the room. The process is repeated on the other side of the bed and in the bathroom for a total of 15 minutes to thoroughly clean each room.

“We have a strong infection prevention program at Wesley,” said Dr. Valerie Creswell, Wesley’s infection prevention medical director. “But this Xenex technology allows us to be even more proactive in protecting the health of our patients and staff.”

More than 200 hospitals nationwide are using the system with the purpose of reducing rates of infection and saving costs. Because the light is extremely intense, the machine operates on its own once it’s set up in a room. A motion sensor automatically shuts off the machine if someone should enter, but the light does not pose any danger to patients or staff.

“Patient safety is always our number one priority,” said Hugh Tappan, president and CEO of Wesley Medical Center. “Wesley has long been recognized as a leader in medical technology and highly specialized care, so it’s only fitting that we should employ the same level of technology innovation when it comes to preventing infections.

“One hospital-acquired infection is too many, so we are excited to begin using this system to help us achieve our goal of zero infections.”

For more information about Wesley Medical Center and its programs, please visit

(Wesley enhances patient safety, page 2)