Humanoid robot will act as support tool to help children cope better with medical procedures
September 5, 2018, SASKATOON – Mason was born on Oct. 10, 2010 (10/10/10), which happened to be his favourite number. He was a happy kid and loved to smile. Like many boys his age, Mason enjoyed spending time outside, playing with his dog, camping, swimming, fishing and going for car rides.
In 2016, Mason was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and his entire world quickly changed.
Due to his critical illness, Mason was eligible to have a wish granted by Make-A-Wish®. In November of last year, the seven-year-old from Prince Albert, Sask. wished to give a humanoid robot called MEDi® to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon and name it “Nurse Mason”. Mason wanted to be a nurse when he grew up and felt the robot would bring children comfort during their medical procedures. He passed away before he could give the robot to the hospital.
As a lasting tribute to the young boy and his courageous battle with cancer, Mason’s family will donate Nurse Mason to Royal University Hospital’s pediatric unit on Sept. 5, 2018.
“Mason was a generous little boy with a very big heart,” says Allyson Toye, regional manager, Make-A-Wish® Saskatchewan. “We are delighted that his wish to help other children through their challenging medical journeys will come true and want to thank his family, and our incredible donors, partners and supporters, for making it possible. Mason would have been so grateful and beyond excited.”
The donated robot will live in the pediatric unit at Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Royal University Hospital and will be used to help young patients cope better.
“Mason was an incredibly thoughtful child, always wanting to help others,” says Tammy Lucas, acute care manager of pediatrics for the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Royal University Hospital. “He would think that this MEDi robot is the coolest thing and would be very excited at how it helps kids cope with their medical challenges in a kid-friendly way. It’s an amazing gift from an amazing kid!”
Adds Kelsey Luedtke, recreation therapist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Royal University Hospital, “Mason spent almost one full year on the pediatric unit receiving treatment, and throughout that time he was adored by the staff and everyone who met him. He will always be remembered as a fighter and a little hero for all he had to go through.”
MEDi® provides medically and socially appropriate support to children ages two to 16. The robot was created by SoftBank Robotics and its behaviours are built by RxRobots Inc.
“RxRobots is a company that builds applications for robots to interact with children while they are having painful medical procedures done, such as vaccinations and blood tests,” says Dr. Tanya Beran, owner of RxRobots and professor in Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. “These applications tell MEDi what to say and do in order to distract and help children cope with the needle, the bandage, whatever is involved in the procedure.”
About Royal University Hospital
Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Royal University Hospital is located on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The hospital serves as a leader in providing acute care services; it is the main trauma centre for the province and houses many maternal and child services, as well as neurosurgery and cardiovascular surgery. The hospital is also home to Saskatchewan’s Stem Cell Transplant Program, as well as PET-CT Centre, and cardiology, oncology and respirology departments.
About RxRobots Inc.
RxRobots is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta and the mission is to transform pediatrics using humanoid robotics. RxRobots is the first company to reduce children’s pain and discomfort using humanoid robots as pain coaches, educators and physical companions during medical procedures at the hospital.