2. September 2011 12:47
Leicester University has developed a new ‘Star Trek-style’ medical suite to help diagnose hospital patients with potentially serious diseases.
The £1 million ‘sick bay’ aims to assess patients more quickly, reducing the number of time-consuming and uncomfortable blood tests.
Professor Paul Monks, who helped develop the new facility, said: “We want to free doctors to actually treat patients and this technology enhances that ability.”
The medical bed assimilates the “ultimate non-invasive diagnostics”, which Star Trek fans will recognise, said Professor Monks.
“Dr McCoy in Star Trek had a tricorder that he waved over the patients to help diagnose diseases.”
Professor Tim Coats, a consultant at the hospital, said that the non-invasive technology uses one group of instruments to analyse the patient's breath, while a second group uses imaging originally intended for exploring the surface of Mars, while a third looks inside the body to measure blood flow.
The new high-tech facility has taken three years to develop, and promises to improve detection of serious diseases such as cancer, heart failure and infections. Professor Monks said: “We’ve shown that it can detect lung cancer quite early.”
Leicester Royal Infirmary plans to use the new equipment within two weeks in its Accident and Emergency department.