Robot gives birth at the UVA School of Nursing

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Victoria is having her fifth baby. It means her childbirth could be a complicated one.

But Victoria has University of Virginia nursing students who are helping her deliver her baby.

"If a mistake is made, no harm is done," said Violet Horst, UVA Nurse Midwife.

Horst says it is okay if students do something wrong during the childbirth.

That is because Victoria is actually a robotic mannequin.

"We use her for normal delivery and then we use her for experiencing a postpartum hemorrhage," said Horst about Victoria's uses.

From blinking to pain, Victoria is helping students learn what it is like to help a woman give birth.

"We do know where things are and we know our way around here," said nursing student Maithili Mody. "Simulation really does help us understand the process a little bit better."

Victoria's reaction to certain situations may come as a surprise to some of the nursing students.

But in the next room over, a technician is controlling everything from Victoria's heartbeat to the heartbeat of her baby.

Techs work to control Victoria with computers and monitors. They make sure the students get as realistic an experience as possible.

"I've never witnessed a childbirth before," said nursing student Jacob Heltzel. "During this simulation, I understood a little bit better how the process goes, what happens to the body leading up to the time of delivery as well as after."

"We need to constantly reassure the patient, remind them what's going on, this situation is about them," added nursing student, Hailey Feger. "So keeping them involved in their care is really important but sometimes you can kind of forget that when you're dealing with a mannequin."

In the heat of the moment though, one forgets Victoria is made of wire and steal. It makes the moment her baby comes out crying a little bit more special for everyone in the room.

"To me, the learning is so valuable. To learn in a very controlled situation where it simulates a live experience, but if mistakes are made we learn from it," said Horst.

Unfortunately for Victoria, it looks like baby number five will not be the last.

Still ahead, there are years of nursing students that will need her help learning how to save a real life, when the time comes.



 
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