A robot anesthesiologist designed by Johnson & Johnson is going off the market. Only three years after approval, the company has stopped production on the Sedasys machine due to poor sales.
The Sedasys machine was designed to provide anesthetic to patients undergoing routine surgeries. The American Society of Anesthesiologists was especially alarmed because anesthesiology is one of the riskier aspects of many surgeries. The machine, which administered the drugs while monitoring the patient’s vital signs, was originally considered for use on a number of surgeries.
Johnson & Johnson agreed to use it only for procedures like endoscopies, colonoscopies, and esophagogastroduodenoscopy. By mid-2015 it was being used in four hospitals. Apparently, that was not enough to justify its continued manufacture.
It’s always unsettling to think that a robot could put a whole profession out of a job—especially when that profession involves years of training and expensive education. Apparently, no one is entirely safe. On the other hand, more and more people are facing astoundingly high healthcare costs. The Sedasys system cost one tenth as much, per procedure, as a human anesthesiologist.