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Health

Pregnant robot helps train Syracuse nurses

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Pregnancy practice: Nurses at Crouse Hospital have robot assistance as they learn to troubleshoot a delivery.

James T. Mulder at the Post-Standard has a profile of a pregnant robot that Crouse Hospital in Syracuse uses to train nursing students.  At $40,000 a pop the robot (named Noelle, and delivering baby Hal) isn't cheap - but she gives students hands on experience in a safe way:

Hospitals and schools worldwide are increasingly using the devices to teach nurses, doctors, emergency medical technicians and other health professionals. Noelle and Hal, made by Gaumard Scientific, a Miami, Fla.-based company, are equipped with complex wiring and computer software that allow instructors using a wireless tablet computer to remotely program them to perform lifelike functions. Noelle speaks, moans, goes into convulsions, hemorrhages fake blood and can mimic all sorts of birth emergencies including breech birth and dystocia, a situation where the baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the way out. Baby Hal cries, turns blue if he doesn’t get enough oxygen, has a heart beat and even makes bowel sounds.

Unhealthy upstate

Two Buffalo-area counties - Erie and Niagara - are some of the least healthy in New York, reports Jay Rey at the Buffalo News.  The data comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and shows that of 62 counties, Erie was 56th for health and longevity, and Niagara was 57th:

"Overall, the rankings tell us where we live, work and play matters to our overall health," [researcher Angela] Russell said, "and much of what influences our health happens outside the doctor's office." The project -- which is in its second year -- used available data to try to standardize how counties in each state measure up to each other healthwise. Researchers developed an overall health score by using five measures: the rate of people dying before age 75; the percentage of people who reported being in fair or poor health; the number of days people reported being in poor physical health; the number of days people reported being in poor mental health; and the rate of low birth-weight infants. In a more promising sign, Wyoming County ranked No. 12; Genesee County, No. 21; and Orleans, No. 24. Putnam County ranked No. 1.

Meanwhile the Buffalo News has an editorial calling for the governor to cancel a 30 percent cut to Roswell Park Cancer Institute's state funding.  Included in the budget proposal, the paper calls the cut an "evisceration:"

The health conference committee, which is still at work, is examining Cuomo's proposed elimination of an annual $25 million capital funding grant provided under the HEAL-NY program. That funding has been a significant revenue source for Roswell Park. The executive budget eliminated the HEAL-NY funding, the Senate put it back in its one-house resolution and the Assembly took no action on it. In addition, the governor is imposing a 10 percent cut in a $78 million funding stream that helps to fund the hospital's mission. Thus, the total cut is a staggering $32.8 million. There is a solution. Other hospitals have received HEAL-NY awards for projects that have not come to fruition. The governor and Legislature should reallocate unspent HEAL-NY dollars to Roswell Park.

Hospital rankings

US News & World Report's ranking of top hospitals includes three from the Rochester area, reports Patti Singer at the Democrat and Chronicle:

Strong Memorial Hospital of the University of Rochester Medical Center was first in the greater Rochester area in the magazine's inaugural Best Regional Hospitals 2010-11 ranking. Rochester General ranked second and Highland Hospital, also part of URMC, ranked third of the 13 hospitals in the metro region. The list recognizes hospitals that score within the top 25 percent for at least one of 16 medical specialties. In several specialties, hospitals must meet thresholds for volumes in order to be considered. In all, nearly 5,000 hospitals are eligible to be considered. The regional list looks at 52 metropolitan areas with more than 1 million residents. "These rankings should reassure patients in our region that the very best medical care is available right here in Rochester," said Dr. Bradford Berk, CEO at URMC.

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