Broward Health is one of only eight hospitals nationwide using this particular child-friendly robot to help pediatric patients overcome the anxiety and fear associated with most medical procedures, officials there say.
He's also bilingual, ready to chat in English or Spanish.
Purchased with a $15,000 grant three months ago, MEDi has been used to comfort cancer patients as young as 2 and up to 14. Programmed just for the pediatric hospital setting, MEDi also gives tips on how to manage pain and stress using deep breathing techniques. He can assist with several procedures, including blood tests, dressing changes, catheter removal, port access and vaccinations.
Science fiction and fantasy writer Anne McCaffrey wrote about Purza the Pukha in her 1990 novel The Rowan; they are described in the novel as "specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices":
Pukhas, deriving their name from the imaginary companions discovered by needful children, had become widely used in pediatrics. They could be programmed for a variety of uses...
...thought had been given to its programming: its long soft hair was composed of receptors, monitoring the child's physical and psychic health.