McCANDLESS (KDKA) — It’s often said that the easiest place to get sick is in a hospital.

But UPMC Passavant now has new technology that can take on the toughest germs and bacteria.

Patients and visitors at Passavant Hospital are prone to double takes, when Terrance Rhodes pushes the high-tech cleaning equipment down the hall.

The device emits ultraviolet light that damages bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotic treatments.

Dr. Joseph Romano says it’s used after a patient is discharged.

“We then put this robot in the room after it’s been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by our staff,” said Dr. Romano, of Infection Prevention and Control. “And then the machine is turned on and it takes about 10 to 15 minutes for this machine to work.”

The environmental services worker programs the machine, nicknamed Violet, and adds the room number.

“It automatically keeps me on five minutes, so I wouldn’t have to change it, but you can if you want to, to 10, 15, 20,” said Rhodes. “So there’s different cycles, but we keep ours on five.”

The Passavant Hospital Foundation came up with $75,000 to purchase technology worthy of a Star Wars feature.

“I think it looks like R2D2,” said Fay Morgan, the president of Passavant Hospital Foundation. “It’s not a very complicated piece of machinery, so it’s not prone to breaking down or things like that. So it should have a very long life. And we’re looking forward to seeing the effects long term of using it.”

Despite the best efforts of Violet, it’s still important to remember the old tried and true.

“Hand washing is the single most important event that you can do to prevent infection,” said Dr. Romano.

Then, let Violet do the rest.

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