The Italian Almanac

robot girl

Italian News - October 7

A 250,000-euro robot is to help train Italy's doctors to deal with heart-related medical emergencies. The robot breathes, has blood pressure and flutters its eyelids when it feels poorly. It can simulate emergency situations such as heart attacks, angina, allergic shocks and breathing difficulties. The 'artificial medical simulator', commonly known as SAM, can also recreate chronic complaints such as diabetes, high blood pressure and weak heart valves. The sophisticated dummy patient recognises the drugs it is prescribed and reacts accordingly, by getting better or, if the doctor gets it wrong, by showing deteriorating symptoms. It can even 'die.

SAM, presented in Rome on Wednesday by the Pfizer and Dies pharmaceuticals groups, is the most advanced human patient simulator in the world. Its hardware and software is being updated all the time. Starting in November, the robot will be at the centre of weekly workshops for 200 family doctors in the regions of Lazio, Lombardy and the Veneto. Over the next two years some 15,000 doctors all over the country are scheduled to receive 'robot' training.

Developed in the United States, SAM has been brought to Italy specifically because of its ability to simulate the heart conditions which are among the country's main causes of death. The idea is to ensure that the nation's doctors are completely informed and trained to deal with them.