Background: The Trauma Pod (TP) vision is to develop a rapidly deployable robotic system to perform critical acute stabilization and/or surgical procedures, autonomously or in a teleoperative mode, on wounded soldiers in the battlefield who might otherwise die before treatment in a combat hospital could be provided.
Methods: In the first phase of a project pursuing this vision, a robotic TP system was developed and its capability demonstrated by performing selected surgical procedures on a patient phantom.
Results: The system demonstrates the feasibility of performing acute stabilization procedures with the patient being the only human in the surgical cell. The teleoperated surgical robot is supported by autonomous robotic arms and subsystems that carry out scrub-nurse and circulating-nurse functions. Tool change and supply delivery are performed automatically and at least as fast as performed manually by nurses. Tracking and counting of the supplies is performed automatically. The TP system also includes a tomographic X-ray facility for patient diagnosis and two-dimensional (2D) fluoroscopic data to support interventions. The vast amount of clinical protocols generated in the TP system are recorded automatically.
Conclusions: Automation and teleoperation capabilities form the basis for a more comprehensive acute diagnostic and management platform that will provide life-saving care in environments where surgical personnel are not present.